It has been more than a year since the Panama papers containing financial information of the world’s elite were leaked. Pakistan’s leadership were among those who have found themselves in trouble following the development.
The Mossack Fonesca documents neither name country’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif nor his younger brother and the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif. However, the papers link prime minister’s children as owners of off-shore companies.
The PM’s children then to date argue that the off-shore companies came into existence following the sale of assets that were owned by their grandfather while the opposition has accused the ruling family of being involved in money laundering. The lack of transaction details and other discrepancies have resulted in a court case the likely outcome of which is a source of debate in public circles ever since the hearings began last year.
Here is a look at 3 reasons that explain how the Panama gate is hurting Pakistan and why a logical conclusion to the entire scandal is essential for a state that is already struggling on multiple fronts.
3. Projects a Negative Image
Owing to the rise in incidents of violence, Pakistan has often found itself in international news for all kinds of wrong reasons. The country therefore, is in desperate need to build a softer image particularly, to attract potential business markets around the globe.
The scandal however, goes onto project an ugly image and leaves behind an unwanted impression for the international stakeholder. Something that the country can ill-afford at this point.
2. Derails Economy
It is no secret that Pakistan’s economy is already in dire straits. To make matters worse the stock exchange over the last few weeks has begun to indicate the influence of the scandal, the developments of which time and again leave both the buyer and seller wondering whether or not the current regime is going to continue.
Pakistan is yet to recover from the aftermath of the foreign policies that it has pursued following the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1970s and 1980s as well as the 9-11 incident. Projection of inconsistent narratives over last 40 years has allowed polarization amongst the masses.
Unfortunately, the scandal is making way for friction between different political actors and key institutions in the country. With both government and opposition fighting it out publicly polarization is fast reaching a dangerous level where the probability of a damage beyond repair scenario can neither be ruled out nor taken lightly.