International Consortium of Investigative Journalists had the entire world waking up and taking notice when they released around 11.5 million documents to the public, claiming that several prominent leaders and people of the world were guilty of hiding away money in the tax haven of Panama. Members of the Chinese politburo, presidents and prime ministers of nations including Ukraine, Iceland, Pakistan, and Russia were also named. Closer home, Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan and his daughter in law Aishwarya Rai also found mention among the guilty.  The Prime Minister of Iceland even had to resign in the aftermath that followed.

The ICIJ on Wednesday, however, opened a can of worms when it accepted that PM Nawaz Sharif’s name being mentioned in the Panama Papers was a mistake. The Consortium admitted that although Hassan Sharif and Hussain Sharif were rightly mentioned as owning offshore companies, PM Sharif’s name was an editing mistake. The ICIJ had previously reported, “The files exposed offshore companies controlled by the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, and the children of the president of Azerbaijan,” but now says, “Due to an editing error, a sentence in an earlier version of this story implied that the prime minister of Pakistan-controlled an offshore company that appeared in the Panama Papers. It is his children who control the offshore companies.”

The federal cabinet strongly condemned the baseless allegations against Sharif levelled by ICIJ, which it itself has now acknowledged as a journalistic mistake. The meeting demanded that the ICIJ should identify those responsible for the mistake and proceed for immediate action against them, said an official statement.


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