Nothing wrong, Sharif family reacts to leaks

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Leaks vindicate Sharif brothers’ assets stance: Pervaiz

Staff Reporter

Islamabad—After the Sharif family was named in the Panama Papers – one of the biggest leaks in history – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son, Hussain Nawaz Sharif, told media that his family had done “nothing wrong” as they defended their ownership of offshore companies.
The Panama Papers leak, comprising 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, shows how some of the world’s most powerful people have secreted away their money in offshore jurisdictions.
Among those named are three of Nawaz’s four children – Maryam, who has been tipped to be his political successor; Hasan and Hussain, with the records showing they owned London real estate through offshore companies administrated by the firm.
“Those apartments are ours and those offshore companies are also ours,” Hussain said in comments aired by the channel Monday.
“There is nothing wrong with it and I have never concealed them, nor do I need to do that.”
“It is according to British law and laws of other countries that it is a legal way to avoid unnecessary tax via offshore companies.”
He left Pakistan in 1992 and is therefore not resident, he said, adding that Pakistani tax law “says that if you are not staying in Pakistan for more than 138 days, then you are not required to declare your assets”.
Regarding Imran’s call for NAB to investigate the matter, Hussain Nawaz said “We voluntarily present ourselves before it or any other judicial and investigative institution in Pakistan.”
And he issued one final dig at Khan, calling on him to provide “proof that the prime minister has not declared his assets”.
“If he is successful in that then we are ready to accept our fault and undergo punishment,” he said.
Clarifying about leaked Panama Papers, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Monday said she did not own any company or property abroad.
“My brother has made me a trustee in one of his corporations which only entitles me to distribute assets to my brother Hussain’s family/childern if needed,” Maryam wrote on her verified Twitter account.
“The info provided by leaks does not say any wrongdoing involved,” she said.
Criticizing the media, Maryam said: “distortion is wilful that a couple of media channels using to settle scores
Speaking to the press on Monday, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid strongly rejected revelations of the Panama Papers.
Pervaiz Rashid said the leakage confirmed the stance of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif that they have no assets abroad.
Pervaiz said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman (PTI) Imran Khan has been making baseless allegations against the PML-N leadership but the Panama documents have proved him wrong.
He said that he does not ask Imran to quit politics, and if he cannot apologize, at least he should be ashamed of “levelling baseless allegations” against the PML-N leadership.
To a question, Pervaiz said that family members of the prime minister have been living abroad for a long time as they were forced out of the country in late 90s and were not allowed to return home which compelled them to establish their businesses abroad.
He said that sons of the prime minister set up businesses with white money and they have been paying taxes regularly and their assets were legal.
The information minister questioned whether those levelling allegations can certify that their relatives living abroad are getting their education from church charity.
After all someone is paying for their expenses and they do have their businesses, he added. He said that Imran Khan has the habit of the making mountain out of a molehill.
The minister said that the Sharif family has faced several injustices in the past as in 1970s, their Ittefaq Foundary set up by their father in 1939 was nationalized without paying them any compensation amount.
He said that in 1999 the Sharifs were forced to leave the country and their businesses were closed and their family home was converted into old age home. He said in these circumstances the sons of the PM under compulsion set up their businesses abroad.
Perviaz said that Nawaz Sharif had a clean track record and even his worst enemies could not register any case of misappropriation for the mega projects he had launched in his official capacity.
He said that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto targeted his personal businesses to settle political scores when she was the prime minister but she never framed charges of misappropriation against Nawaz Sharif.
Similarly, he added, Pervez Musharraf, could not even register any case of misappropriation in public funds in mega projects like motorway, banking and telecom sector reforms.

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