Let us start by admitting our ignorance. Majority of us, to begin with, have no idea at all what an offshore company is, how and why it is formed, what it aims to achieve and how its affairs are conducted. Let us start by admitting our ignorance, folks, as only then we can banish it.
Let’s start with a quickie lesson in company law. Being a slightly above-average student during my law days, I was immensely averse to company law (and I guess the aversion was mutual). the whole edifice of this particular branch of law had no charm for me because of its dull nature and abundance of ‘legal’ personalities that can be concocted out of thin air. even an aloof lad like me can recall a thing or two about the reasons why an offshore company is formed. those were, I guess, to conduct business in some tax haven, away from intruding eyes and nosy creditors.
I studied, passed my exams and moved on with my life.
And then, all hell broke loose last Sunday when aptly rhymed ‘Panama Papers’ surfaced. In them, Mr Putin was
juxtaposed with Lionel Messi, Big B, Ash and innocent Jackie Chan found themselves in the company of King Salman and David Cameron. from the way the list looks, one can vouch that whoever, wherever, whenever made a buck too much, trusted their extra dough to an offshore company.
You must have spotted out that someone mighty, someone significant, someone who is ‘in power’, who calls all the shorts is amiss from the list. Well, he won’t be any longer.
The names of Hassan and Hussain, sons of Nawaz Sharif, along with Maryam Nawaz, daughter of the PM, also surfaced in the ably rhymed ‘Panama Papers’. the accompanying customary hullabaloo of opposition, that specialises in seeing and wailing every sin committed by any and everyone that is not in its fold, was neither new nor novel. Opposition, be it PtI or PPP, enjoy a very comfy position from where it can criticise without consequence and practice invective sans responsibility. they want all and sundry to believe what they utter must be treated as sole gospel truth in town and what government utters is sheer twaddle on stilts.
Let us get one thing straight. Governments are hated the world over. In order to prove my point, just look at the caricatures drawn in daily papers from around the world. You’ll see that the ones aping those in power will outstrip those in opposition.
Governments are blamed because they have the power to do things, to bring change, to fulfil promises, to manage the economy, to legislate, and to steer a country. When they falter, they are blamed. When they are doing fine, momentary silence reigns till they falter the mudslinging starts anew. the curious lawyer in me came to wakefulness and I called a very good teacher of mine from law college days, a pedagogue who has never lost his temper either in court or class. Also, a man who never allowed emotion to taint his judgment. When I asked him about the Panama Papers, he replied in measured tone, ‘We all are losing our minds and yelling like madmen as if the so-called Panama Papers came straight from heaven with a seal of divine sanctity from God himself. No, sir, there veracity is yet to be established. And then we have to see the law of the land on it. And then the international law and the conventions we are signatories to. then the fBr, the income tax department, the investigation agencies and other institutions must conduct their inquiries. the most popular maxim of law proclaims, ‘everybody is innocent until proven guilty’. So, those whose names have surfaced must be proven guilty. Until then all this finger pointing and mudslinging is mere commotion and noise’.
Gone are the days when only the brave and dauntless aired dissent against rulers and kings, now the honourable ‘voters’ that hail from riffraff while awaiting for a haircut at a barber’s shop abuse the government for ‘sins’ ranging from the number of kids they have to lack of foreign scholarships for their prodigy who keeps on flunking in their diplomas.
I wonder what happened to the natural curiosity that asks ‘why’ the Panama Papers got ‘leaked’, ‘who’ gets the most benefit from the ‘leak’, etc?
I guess the answer goes something like, we