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Pakistan PM Promises Probe Into Family Investments

  • Ayaz Gul

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2008 file photo, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, left, and his brother Shahbaz Sharif address a news conference in Lahore, Pakistan. Sharif has announced that he will set up an independent judicial commission to probe whether his family is involved in illegal overseas investments after reports based on documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm indicated his sons owned several offshore companies.

FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2008 file photo, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, left, and his brother Shahbaz Sharif address a news conference in Lahore, Pakistan. Sharif has announced that he will set up an independent judicial commission to probe whether his family is involved in illegal overseas investments after reports based on documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm indicated his sons owned several offshore companies.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says he is creating an independent judicial commission to investigate whether his family is involved in illegal overseas investments.

In a televised address Tuesday, Sharif said a former Supreme Court judge will head the commission. He urged his political opponents to bring evidence to prove, what he rejected as "politically-motivated," corruption charges against his family

The leaks from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca have revealed, among others, the names of Sharif’s daughter and two sons indicating they bought London real estate through several offshore companies.

Sharif said his children’s overseas assets were established through "legal and honest" means without wrongdoing.

The so-called Panama Papers leaks prompted Pakistan's opposition parties to demand the Sharif government immediately launch investigations.

ICIJ Report: The Panama Papers

ICIJ Report: The Panama Papers

The Panama Papers leaks contained names of dozens of top Pakistani politicians, businessmen, former and serving judges, as well as prominent political leaders and business people around the world who are alleged to have business dealings with offshore companies. The scandal has led to the resignation of Iceland's prime minister.

The Sharif family owns a network of businesses, including steel, sugar and paper mills at home and extensive property abroad. But it has long been accused of tax evasion and secreting away money to offshore accounts.

Though Sharif’s sons moved to London many years ago and are not required to pay taxes under Pakistani laws, they have been running family businesses from abroad. His daughter, Maryam, however lives in Pakistan and is actively participating in political activities such as accompanying her father on foreign trips.

Corruption and misrule allegations engulfed the two previous elected governments Sharif headed in the 1990s, ultimately leading to his ouster.

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