LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) has consolidated all identical petitions filed against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family for allegedly investing in offshore companies and stashing money abroad.
Pleas filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Gohar Nawaz Sindhu and others state that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had concealed details of his family’s assets in the nomination papers for 2013 general elections.
Nawaz Sharif misinformed the Election Commission and now details of his family’s secret assets have been revealed through Panama leaks, therefore, the Prime Minister should be disqualified and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should be ordered to initiate action, the petitioners requested court.
While consolidating all the petitions for hearing, the LHC directed to make the Panama Papers part of the record.
The court also issued notices to all respondents including the federal government, interior ministry, NAB and Sharif family to submit their replies within a week.
According to the Panama Papers, almost 200 politicians and businessmen from Pakistan own off-shore companies. The leaks reveal that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s three children, Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Mariam Safdar are listed in the papers for establishing off-shore companies in a tax-haven.
The Sharif family has maintained that there’s nothing illegal about owning the off-shore companies. Hussain Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister’s eldest son, said he owned the offshore companies named in the leaks but that he and his family members had broken no laws.
Like the rest of the world, the Panama papers have caused uproar in the Pakistani media and political circles. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) chief lashed out at Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef for having off –shore properties of millions, when the country he rules and get votes from has to rely on foreign loans that have crippled the economy of the country.
Imran Khan accused Sharif of acquiring the properties and transferring them to his children to shield himself from liability under Pakistani tax laws
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last, in an attempt to address the issue, announced to form a ‘judicial commission’ which will be headed by a retired judge so that the ‘accusers’ can prove the allegations.
The major opposition parties in the country including PPP, PTI and JI have rejected the prime minister’s proposed judicial commission.