ISLAMABAD: NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal said on Monday that all offshore companies are being investigated by the NAB at the moment including those that were uncovered by the Panama Papers to ensure extensive accountability, a local newspaper reported.
The newly appointed NAB chairman said that he was presently studying the cases of offshore companies to see what went wrong.
He remarked that to open an offshore company is, in itself, not a heinous crime; it is the misuse of these companies that should be properly probed. He said that NAB had to first determine what crime had been committed in order to investigate the cases any further.
He promised that the Panama Papers probe of offshore companies by NAB would go beyond Nawaz Sharif and his family.
Over 400 Pakistanis were identified in the Panama Papers as owners of offshore companies, whereas only the ones belonging to the Sharifs were probed following the Supreme Court orders.
In April last year, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) revealed names of Pakistani politicians, businessmen, bankers as well as a serving high court judge and a retired judge, who allegedly owned offshore companies.
Following the Panama Papers revelation by the ICIJ, neither NAB nor FIA did anything to investigate the matter any further, which forced a couple of political parties to approach the Supreme court themselves to get the matter properly probed.
Out of all the petitions that were filed by political parties, the SC only chose to take up the case against the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family. A JIT was constituted by the SC to investigate the Sharifs, which led to Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification as a prime minister.
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, Jamaat-e-Islami chief — one of the original petitioners of the Panama papers case in Supreme Court— has been demanding all along of the apex court to investigate everyone who was named in the papers.
After the Panama Papers revelation, offshore companies of PTI chief Imran Khan and his key party leader Jehangir Tareen were also unearthed, against whom the PML-N filed a petition in the apex court.
The case against Khan and Tareen is being presently heard by the Supreme Court.