PM Nawaz forms judicial commission to probe Panama Papers

Published: April 5, 2016
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Express News screen grab of Nawaz Sharif addressing a press conference on Tuesday

Express News screen grab of Nawaz Sharif addressing a press conference on Tuesday

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday announced forming a high-level judicial commission to investigate the allegations of owning off-shore companies and concealing assets.

“I hereby announce to form a judicial commission which will be led by a former judge of the Supreme Court,” the premier said while addressing the nation on Tuesday evening.

“This commission will weigh the allegations being leveled and will give its verdict after due investigation.”

A massive leak of 11.5 million tax documents on April 3 exposed the secret offshore dealings of world leaders and celebrities, also naming three of the premier’s children for owning London real estate through offshore companies.

The prime minister said he was compelled to respond to the politically-motivated allegations against the Sharif family, making rounds on media.

“I want the nation to decide for themselves the reality behind these allegations which are being leveled for the last 25 years.”

‘Panama leaks have made no allegations of wrongdoing against Sharif family’

The premier said he would ask those leveling allegations against his family to go before this commission and record their statements.

Regarding business ventures of his sons, the PM said Hassan and Hussain Nawaz were residing in London and Saudi Arabia since 1994 and 2000 respectively.

“Both of my sons have been working under the legal ambit and rules and regulations of the aforementioned countries.”

“Despite facing difficult times and the fall of Ittefaq Foundaries, my family returned every bit of the outstanding dues against the loans acquired, which amount to nearly six billion rupees,” he said.

Our family did not get waived even a rupee of the outstanding dues, the premier added.

Focus on Ittefaq Foundries

Talking about the family business established by his father, Premier Nawaz said, “The Ittefaq Foundries branch established in Dhaka which fell victim to the debacle in 1971,” adding, “On January 2, 1972, the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government took control of its Lahore branch, thus diminishing our assets in an instance.”

The prime minister went on to say, “Our businesses were harmed even during the second tenure of the PPP.”

We even paid off those dues, PM Nawaz said, which we hadn’t owed, and never related to business with politics. “I ask those levelling worn-out and baseless allegations to go before this judicial commission and prove their claims.”

In an official statement on Monday, Sharif family said none of the corporations mentioned in Panama Papers, were owned or run by Nawaz Sharif.

It also highlighted that the corporations owned by Hussain and Hassan Nawaz were legal, saying the leaks had actually alleged no wrongdoing against the family.

Panama Papers: A coup against the Sharifs and Bhuttos

Among those named were three of Nawaz’s three 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.

An investigation into the documents by more than 100 media groups, described as one of the largest such probes in history, revealed the hidden offshore dealings in the assets of around 140 political figures — including 12 current or former heads of state.

The vast stash of records was obtained from an anonymous source by German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with media worldwide by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The documents, from around 214,000 offshore entities, came from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm with offices in more than 35 countries.

PTI questions judicial commission’s authority

Soon after the prime minister announced a judicial commission would probe Panama Papers allegations against the Sharif’s family, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) sprang into action, raising objections and technical questions about the jurisdiction of the proposed commission.

“The prime minister has not made it clear who would appoint the judges: chief justice of Pakistan or the government,” said a PTI statement.

The PTI criticised PM Nawaz, saying he did not talk about a time period the commission would complete its task.

“He did not explain about the powers of the commission and whether, it would be allowed to investigate the assets of the Sharif family within the country and abroad,” the communiqué added.

In his speech, the prime minister did not give a satisfactory answer to the revelations made by consortium of investigative journalists, the statement said.

It added, “Major portion of PM’s speech was based on political stories.”

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Reader Comments (41)

  • Jawad U Rahman
    Apr 5, 2016 - 9:12PM

    Is Hussain Nawaz a Pakistani citizen? If he is, law of the land applies to him. Also, apart from legal, there is moral and ethical question marks about Mr. Nawaz Sharif and his family. I don’t think he addressed those sufficiently.Recommend

  • Midas
    Apr 5, 2016 - 9:23PM

    If the PM has nothing to hide, then he should resign, wait for the outcome of the commission report and then contest election. In all fairness he should follow suit with the PM of Iceland.Recommend

  • imran ali
    Apr 5, 2016 - 9:26PM

    even judges are corrupt..one of the sitting judge of LHC has offshore accountRecommend

  • Qamar
    Apr 5, 2016 - 9:33PM

    Icelandic PM resigns over Panama leaks while Pakistani PM appoints a retired judge of his liking to probe accusations against him and his family… only in Pakistan :(Recommend

  • Frank
    Apr 5, 2016 - 9:39PM

    This commission has no credibility. Nawaz sharif must resign and his affairs investigated by the Supreme Court.Recommend

  • Ahmd
    Apr 5, 2016 - 9:41PM

    If u dont want to get caught call in for a judicial commisssion. Bribe every judge and enjoy. Corrupt nation as corrupt leaders.Recommend

  • Usama
    Apr 5, 2016 - 9:41PM

    Business using Tax heavens and living on tax payers of this nation and than you claim to help common masses by doing politics I am amazed Recommend

  • Hatim
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:04PM

    I already know the findings of the judicial commission. Recommend

  • Haroon
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:09PM

    Allah bless Nawaz Sharif. His opponents are trying their best to damage his repute but Allah is helping Nawaz Sharif. He will come out successful again.Recommend

  • Saima Khawar
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:18PM

    PTI and Imran Khan have become mad in opposing Nawaz Sharif. They start criticizing whether they have any proof or not.Recommend

  • sabi
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:20PM

    Another opportunity for dharma walas and company to derail Pakistan journey to peace and prosperity. Military high command knows it and will never allow rogue elements mislead the nation.
    It will thus prove to another storm in the cup.
    Go ahead Nawaz Sharif Pakistan needs you.
    Hope general will throw circus company in the see for ever.Recommend

  • Ali Zafar
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:21PM

    Big Lol at “which will be led by a former judge of the Supreme Court”Recommend

  • Courtesy
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:26PM

    Come on…. Prime minister will appoint his commission to probe his matters… How do u trust the fairness and integrity of the commissionRecommend

  • NY
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:32PM

    Even a child can tell the outcome of this so-called commission. So why waste taxpayers more money?Recommend

  • Minor
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:34PM

    Good speech by our Prime Minister. I appreciate his act of presenting his case before judicial commission. He is really a great man. Shame for those who criticize on him.Recommend

  • salman
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:39PM

    @Haroon:
    Oh, I don’t know. It seems Miran sahib is capable enough of harming himself. No one asked him to set up companies in his children’s name in offshore tax havens.

    Any then the hypocrisy of asking others to invest in Pakistan! Unbelievable!

    Remember, Allah doesn’t like hypocrites…Recommend

  • Hina
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:43PM

    Good speech. He announced judicial commission for May 2013 elections but his opponents could not bring any material evidence. His opponents could not harm him. Same will the case this time too. My prayers for Nawaz Sharif.Recommend

  • Abid Shah
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:48PM

    Good joke!Recommend

  • TAHIR
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:48PM

    Commission means to conceal the facts not to unveil .Recommend

  • fawad
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:50PM

    Haters will continue their hate but Nawaz Sharif will come out victorious out of this difficulty. I feel pity for the haters who leave no chance of baseless criticism.Recommend

  • Ali Abul Hassa
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:58PM

    Judicial Commission or Inquiry Commission? A retired judge can never head a judicial commission. It can only be done by a serving judge. Recommend

  • Junaid
    Apr 5, 2016 - 10:59PM

    It was a good speech. PM has presented himself before court. It is good gesture. It must be appreciated even by his opponents.Recommend

  • Quetta gladiator
    Apr 5, 2016 - 11:19PM

    Curry and daal eating nations lack in morals and character when compared to the West. Otherwise, the namesake Sharif would have step down like the Iceland premier. We are a dead nation, therefore, such thugs will rule not only us but even our grandchildren. Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Apr 5, 2016 - 11:22PM

    @Ali Zafar: Don’t laugh; he’ll get his bulletproof car after all !Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Apr 5, 2016 - 11:26PM

    The Prime Minister is ruling the federal state in a presidential style, more or less ignoring the parlimenterians, while the opposition of Imran Khan is seeking open space for public speeches and street demonstrations. What a travesty for the people of the land who are stuck with the colonial system watching now and then a man in the military uniform showing the presence of the crown. The fall out from panama papers leak should be debated in the parliament and especially the conflict of interest of the Sharif enterprise whose asseets are found registered in their children names.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Adnan
    Apr 5, 2016 - 11:38PM

    @Haroon:
    Allah only listens to you? and not millions of people suffering under Prime ministers family`s rule .Allahs helps Pakistan and get rid of this corrupt family. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 5, 2016 - 11:43PM

    Now Pervez Rasheed has asked IK to give prove of Nawaz Sharif money laundering….well as far as my knowledge it is responsibility of government institutions like NAB and FBR to investigate this matter not IK. Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 5, 2016 - 11:45PM

    PML-N supporters logic…it is conspiracy by IK against our beloved leader Nawaz Sharif.Recommend

  • Voiceless Pakistani
    Apr 5, 2016 - 11:45PM

    Sitting judges form judiciary

    and not retired judgesRecommend

  • Parvez
    Apr 6, 2016 - 12:07AM

    This is classic Nawaz Sharif…….a judicial commission means very little……..what is needed is a thorough forensic audit by a recognized international audit company with terms of reference to cover the matter fully and apportion blame. Recommend

  • FZ
    Apr 6, 2016 - 12:15AM

    NS only on the day of judgement it can be decided Recommend

  • MSH
    Apr 6, 2016 - 12:19AM

    Let Justice Ramday head this commission with Justice Qayum as one of the member.The result will be to give a clean chit to corrupt PM .So it prove Zardari point that democracy is the best revenge.Recommend

  • Indeed
    Apr 6, 2016 - 12:28AM

    So stupid, don’t know what to say who is most stupid, this Prime Minister or the Pakistani Nation?
    Judicial commission for something which is in Panama, not Pakistan :) Does he thinks Panama is in Pakistan or he thinks the Pakistani are so stupid that they will just accept it?
    By the way, it is getting clear now, what a judicial commission means in Pakistan. judicial comission for Model Town (who has sent Rana Sana ullah to life in prison :) ), judicial commission for abbottabad incident and many more ……. and the funny is now for something which is far far away ….. shame on you PM.Recommend

  • Sodomite
    Apr 6, 2016 - 12:32AM

    “Judicial commission led by a former judge of the Supreme Court” is an oxymoron statement. No such animal exists. Recommend

  • M.S.
    Apr 6, 2016 - 1:03AM

    Forming Judicial Commissions are favourite hobbies of Sharifs. They know how to buy judges.Recommend

  • Breaking Bad
    Apr 6, 2016 - 1:25AM

    I noticed some comments that looked fake.Recommend

  • Azi
    Apr 6, 2016 - 5:35AM

    Yet the sheep of pakistan is in slumber even finding out who makes profit selling its skin while promising security and progress to them. Clueless people, how easy it is to fool people of Pakistan.Recommend

  • freed
    Apr 6, 2016 - 6:47AM

    Just hide the report like model town killing and start a new commision, Keep doing it until you get the verdict you want. Pakistan style justice where masses are too uneducated to see the pattern.Recommend

  • sophee
    Apr 6, 2016 - 6:49AM

    Why is it called Judicial commission? Do they work on commission? Recommend

  • Irshad. K
    Apr 6, 2016 - 7:23AM

    Retired Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry’s name is mentioned for the corruption in Panama Papers.Recommend

  • Dallas Ali
    Apr 9, 2016 - 12:58AM

    I will try to reword my comments as the earlier comment(s) I made did not get published.

    The Commission is a sham; as it is a self-appointed tribunal. The cat is out of the bag, noble thing will be to open/publish tax returns for say last 5 years or so. Recommend

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