The government faced sheer embarrassment on Wednesday after the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance turned down its plea not to discuss Panamagate issue.
However, Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Nisar Muhammad Khan refused to share details with the body regarding replies submitted by the prime minister’s children. During the FBR chairman’s briefing, PPP MNA Nafisa Shah demanded that the committee should be informed about answers submitted to the FBR by the PM’s children. Yes, we had issued them notices. Yes, we have received their answers but according to law and rules I can not share these with committee, as investigation is still continued,” the FBR chairman said.
Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Fazal Khan and the FBR chairman tried to stop the committee from discussing the issue. But the committee chairman told them that the National Assembly Secretariat has so far not received any notice or order from the court in this regard. The FBR officials told the committee that 444 people were identified after Panama leaks disclosure, of them 336 were issued notices, 115 responded and shared their tax details, six people have passed away while 24 refused to answer. Those who refused to respond to the notices were issued notices again.
The FBR officials added if they failed to answer then legal action would be taken against them. There are 155 directors of 600 companies which invested in offshore companies, 85 are tax filers while 44 are irregular tax filers while 21 are non-filers, the FBR chairman told the meeting. Earlier, State Bank of Pakistan Governor Ashraf Wuthra and Security and Exchange Commission Chairman Zafar Hijazi clarified that they have no jurisdiction or power to investigate the Panama scandal. They, however, showed their willingness to cooperate with all departments concerned. -dailytimes