LAHORE – Senior leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Aitzaz Ahsan on Sunday called for a forensic audit of the Panama Papers, the world’s largest ever data leak that has been exposing how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth.Speaking with the reporters here, he rejected the idea that the task to handle the foreign data should be assigned to a senior judge. He said the audit should be carried out through an international audit firm instead of a sitting or a retired judge.
The papers – 11.5 million documents in all – have revealed how Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm, allegedly helped current and former world leaders, as well as businessmen, criminals, celebrities and sports stars, evade or avoid tax via anonymously owned shell companies and offshore accounts.
“Neither a sitting judge nor a retired judge could do the job as judges remain confined to their rooms,” the PPP leader said. He said only experts from an international firm could ascertain as to how the money was transferred. He called for accountability of all the individuals whose names are included in the tax documents leaked from a foreign firm.
“Family of our prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) has also been found involved, and his son Hussain Nawaz has admitted to owning offshore companies,” Aitzaz said. He said that Pakistan’s money should be brought back from wherever it has been stashed abroad.In terms of the size of the leak and the scale of the journalistic collaboration, the story has garnered wall-to-wall coverage and dominated the front pages of newspapers across the world.The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism, a non-profit group in the US, coordinated the reporting with 376 journalists from 109 news organisations and 76 countries poring over the files.