- Gen Raheel says Pakistan Army will support ‘every meaningful effort to ensure better tomorrow for future generations
- Info Minister Rashid says Gen Raheel’s statement is ‘our national agenda’; PML-N’s hands clean in development projects
In a veiled reference to the Panama Papers saga, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif on Tuesday stressed on the need for an “across-the-board accountability” and for corruption to be uprooted to ensure the nation’s prosperity.
“Across-the-board accountability is necessary for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of Pakistan. Pakistan’s armed forces will fully support every meaningful effort in that direction, which would ensure a better future for our next generations,” Gen Raheel said during his visit to the Signal Regimental Centre in Kohat on Tuesday.
“The ongoing war against terrorism and extremism being fought with the backing of entire nation cannot bring enduring peace and stability unless the menace of corruption is uprooted,” the army chief upheld.
The statement comes in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations shrouding the prime minister’s family among many other prominent political figures holding off-shore wealth.
Around 220 Pakistanis, including three children of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, have been named in the massive leak of documents from a Panama-based law firm.
Prime Minister Nawaz has rejected any allegations of money laundering, claiming that his children have legitimate businesses abroad, and has called for the establishment of an inquiry commission.
Meanwhile, during his visit to Kohat, the army chief interacted with officers, men and families of those killed in terrorist attacks.
General Raheel commended the extraordinary efforts of ranks of Signals Corps in providing communication support to Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
He also appreciated the sacrifices rendered both by men in uniform and civilians alike in defeating the terrorists and dislodging them from their bases.
Earlier, General Raheel pinned the badges of rank on the shoulders of Major General Sohail Ahmed Zaidi, Signal-in-Chief to formally install him Colonel Commandant of Corps of Signal. He also laid a floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada and offered Fateha.
ENDING CORRUPTION IS NATIONAL AGENDA:
Commenting on the army chief’s strong remarks, Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Pervaiz Rashid said that there was national consensus on eradication of corruption in Pakistan.
Rashid said that all state institutions could talk about the issues of national agenda.
“The statement of the army chief is our national agenda,” he told reporters, adding that all stakeholders should work together for a corruption-free Pakistan.
“We have completed several mega projects over the last three years. There is not a single allegation of corruption,” he said.
The Transparency International Pakistan has admitted that corruption has gone down in Pakistan during our term.
“Corruption was carried out in the past and governments were also toppled in the name of corruption,” Rashid added.
The data leak has revealed financial wheelings and dealings of Prime Minister Nawaz’s family, among dozens of others, including world leaders.
The data from the Panama Papers, available on the website of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — one of around 100 news organisations and 300 journalists that worked on mining the data simultaneously — also reveals the offshore holdings of members of Prime Minister Sharif’s family.
According to documents available on the ICIJ website, the PM’s children Mariam, Hasan and Hussain “were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several companies”.
Mariam is described as “the owner of British Virgin Islands-based firms Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, incorporated in 1994 and 1993”.
On one of the documents released by ICIJ, the address listed for Nielsen Enterprises is Saroor Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The document, dated June 2012, describes Mariam Safdar as the ‘beneficial owner’.
According to ICIJ, “Hussain and Mariam signed a document dated June 2007 that was part of a series of transactions in which Deutsche Bank Geneva lent up to $13.8 million to Nescoll, Nielsen and another company, with their London properties as collateral.”
Hasan Nawaz Sharif is described as “the sole director of Hangon Property Holdings Limited incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in February 2007, which acquired Liberia-based firm Cascon Holdings Establishment Limited for about $11.2 million in August 2007”.
But the papers are not necessarily evidence of wrongdoing, as using offshore structures is entirely legal in United Kingdom and several other countries in the world.