Islamabad | Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today asked Parliament to set up a committee to probe all those whose names figure in the ‘Panama Papers’ after his family was accused of stashing money in offshore entities.
Sharif asked the Speaker to thrash out a detailed procedure to probe those mentioned in the Panama Papers, in consultation with the opposition. He addressed parliament after the opposition had demanded that he should face the house to clear his name after his family members were mentioned in the Panama Papers.
Sharif dwelt at length on the issue of his family business which he said was established much before Partition. He rejected the charge of money laundering and said his family did not transfer any money from Pakistan but used proceeds from the family business in UAE and Saudi Arabia to buy properties in the UK. He said he was ready for accountability but demanded that all others involved in corruption should also face probes.
The speaker should set up a committee of parliament in consultation with all parties to prepare terms of reference and detailed procedure for probe into Panama Papers, he said. However, his offer was rejected by opposition parties which staged a walk out after Sharif’s address. Sharif also claimed that he had set up his business first and subsequently joined politics unlike those who make money through politics.
The opposition has been demanding Sharif face parliament and respond to various questions regarding how his family transferred money from Pakistan to set up businesses abroad. Sharif’s two sons Hussain and Hassan own businesses in UK and Saudi Arabia. His critics want him to reveal the channels through which the funds were transferred from Pakistan along with the exact amount and whether any taxes were paid or not.
But pressure has eased on Sharif after Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaaf chief Imran Khan admitted having an offshore company while several other leaders were also found owning such entities, including Moonis Elahi, son of former deputy premier Pervaiz Elahi, and Pakistan People’s Party senator and ex-interior minister Rehman Malik besides others.