Pandora Papers probe should start with me, says Vawda

PTI Senator Faisal Vawda, who was named in a massive leak of financial documents, has welcomed the formation of a high-level commission that will probe all Pakistanis named in Pandora Papers scandal saying he should be probed first as a “test case”.

“Only [Prime Minister] Imran Khan can take bold decision of Pandora Papers inquiry. I welcome it and request PM Imran Khan to direct the inquiry team to work 12-14 hours on [a] daily basis and bring the results in 5 days and [the] nation should see it,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Imran on Monday set up a ‘high-level cell’ to investigate roughly 700 Pakistanis, including the cabinet ministers, retired generals and businessmen, who were named in the Pandora Papers – a huge tranche of leaked data on offshore companies.

In a follow-up tweet, the senator said he was ready to accept any punishment awarded to him if he was found guilty. “But also tell if I’m proven right what will be the punishment for so called investigative journalists for misrepresenting facts, defaming and sensitisation???,” he added.

A day after the prime minister “welcomed” the Pandora Papers, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Monday announced that the cell was formed under the Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission and it will question all individuals who were part of the Pandora Leaks. “Facts will be placed before the nation,” the government’s spokesperson said.

Though the premier has vowed to investigate all Pakistanis named in the scandal, his approach is different than he had taken when the Panama Papers had emerged as neither any timeframe nor the names of the officials who would investigate the ministers, generals and others have so far been given.

Back then, the PTI chairman had said that “the leaks are God sent”; demanded resignation from the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif; prompt action by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government; and formation of an inquiry commission led by the then serving chief justice of Pakistan.

This time around, PM Imran’s government was quick to announce investigation into the Pandora Leaks but has so far kept it under its wings instead of taking the previous route.

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