Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has begun sending letters to over 600 Pakistanis named in the Panama Papers for owning offshore companies, which also includes names of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family members.
“This week we have begun the process of sending letters to hundreds of Pakistanis who have been named in Panama Papers,” the Express Tribune quoted Federal Board of Revenue spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Iqbal as saying.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in April this year published a fraction of the data leaked under the Panama Papers investigation which included the names about 640 Pakistanis as beneficiaries of offshore holdings.
Iqbal said the letters have been sent under Section 176 of the Income Tax Ordinance, which empowers tax officials to seek information about any transaction.
The move by FBR coincided with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s move to launch a countrywide campaign against the government over corruption and delay in taking action against those whose name surfaced in Panama papers.
The spokesperson, however, did not confirm whether letters have also been sent to Sharif’s daughter or his sons, Hussain and Hasan.
He added the letters were written to all those people whose confirmed addresses were available. However, the legal and tax experts reportedly believe that tax authorities are unlikely to achieve anything through these notices as the named are protected by the law and well equipped to silence a weakened tax machinery.
The FBR on April 8 also sent a notice to Prime Minister Sharif under Section 176, seeking a clarification on receipts of foreign remittances from his son and subsequent distribution among his family members.