Panama Paper leaks: Will resign if proven guilty of wrongdoing, says PM

Published: April 22, 2016
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Express News screen grab of Nawaz Sharif's address to the nation on Friday

Express News screen grab of Nawaz Sharif's address to the nation on Friday

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said he would resign if any wrongdoing is proved against him before the commission formed to investigate offshore wealth in the wake of Panama Papers revelations.

“I challenge those accusing me of wrongdoing to prove that before the commission and if anything is proved, I will step down without any delay,” Nawaz Sharif said while addressing the nation on Friday.

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.

“Making Panama [Papers] leaks as the basis, some elements are hurling allegations at me,” the premier said, saying he was ready for an accountability of himself and his family.

Commission to investigate Panama Paper leaks expected within 48 hours: Nisar

About forming a commission to investigate the allegations, the PM said he will approach the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

“I hereby announce to write to the chief justice, asking him to lead the judicial commission, which will investigate revelations made in the Panama Papers,” he said.

Taking the nation into confidence once again within two weeks, he said, “I will accept the recommendations of this commission.”
However, he went on to say, if the allegations are not proved, those levelling them will have to apologise before the nation and will be held answerable.

PM’s declared assets worth Rs1.9 billion

Earlier, the Sharif family said none of the corporations mentioned in Panama Papers, were owned or run by Nawaz Sharif. It also highlighted the corporations owned by Hussain and Hassan Nawaz were legal, saying the leaks had actually alleged no wrongdoing against the family.

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.

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

In his address to the nation more than two weeks ago, the prime minister had said he was compelled to respond to the politically-motivated allegations against the Sharif family, making rounds on media.

Law ministry writes letter to Supreme Court

Meanwhile, the federal law ministry has written to the Supreme Court, asking the CJP to lead the investigative commission on priority basis.

According to Express News, in a letter to the registrar of the apex court in accordance with the 1956 Act of the Constitution, the acting federal secretary also detailed the terms of reference (ToRs) of the commission.

Political reaction

While Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq welcomed the announcement, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly while speaking to Express News, said “We will be satisfied when an international audit firm will become part of the inquiry commission.”

PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his party would give its response following a study of the commission’s TORs.

The inquiry commission shall have the following ToRs:

•    To examine information relating to

(a)    Involvement of Pakistani citizens, persons of Pakistan origin and legal entities in offshore companies in Panama or in any other country; and,

(b)    Involvement of former and present holders of public office in:-

(i)    Writing off their own bank loans or those of their immediate family members through political influence; and,

(ii)    Transfer from Pakistan of funds which have originated from corruption, commissions or kickbacks;

•    To determine whether, in any case referred to in (1) (a) and (b) above, any law for the time being in force in Pakistan has been infringed;

•    In case the answer to (2) above is affirmative, to determine responsibility for such infringement; and,

•    To make such recommendations as may be deemed appropriate.

•    The commission shall, in addition to the powers under Section 4 of the Act, have all the additional powers under section 5 ibid, including the powers mentioned in sub-paragraphs (1) to (4) below

(1)    The commission shall have powers under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for

(a)    Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person, including a tax expert or accountant, and examining him on oath;

(b)    Requiring the discovery and production of any documents;

(c)    Receiving evidence on affidavits;

(d)    Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses on documents; and,

(e)    Requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office.

(2) The commission shall have the powers to require any person, subject to any privilege which may be claimed by that person under any law for the time being in force, to furnish information on such point or matters as, in the opinion of the commission, may be useful for, or relevant to, the subject matter of the inquiry.

(3) Any officer not below the rank of a gazetted officer, specially authorized in this behalf by the president of the commission may enter any building or place where the commission has reason to believe that any books of account or other documents relating to the subject matter of the inquiry may be found, and may seize any such books of account or documents or take extracts or copies therefrom subject to the provisions of section 102 and section 103 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, insofar as they may be applicable.

(4) Any proceeding before the commission shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.

•   The commission shall be assisted by all the concerned authorities of the federal and provincial governments.

•   The commission shall start the inquiry at a place and on a date to be fixed by it and shall submit its report to the Federal Government in accordance with its Terms of Reference.

•   The Cabinet Division shall provide secretarial assistance to the Commission

SCBA rejects TORs

The Supreme Court Bar Association has rejected the ToRs of the inquiry commission to probe Panama Papers revelations.

SCBA President Ali Zafar while talking to The Express Tribune said the government was forming a ‘powerless’ commission to investigate Panama leaks, which may not be acceptable to the Supreme Court as well.

“I am sure that the Supreme Court will not accept this powerless inquiry commission.”

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Reader Comments (39)

  • Patwari
    Apr 22, 2016 - 4:07PM

    Nawaz Sharif will create a commission which will ask Nawaz Sharif whether his wealth has been accumulated by legal or illegal means. Recommend

  • sabi
    Apr 22, 2016 - 4:26PM

    They fear not that you are corrupt but that nation wil know that you are not. They are against you for aggressively perusing your economic agenda which will kick them out from the race.Recommend

  • sabi
    Apr 22, 2016 - 4:28PM

    we have given you five years pl complete your term so that we elect you next time bigger marginRecommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Apr 22, 2016 - 4:37PM

    Insha-Allah enemies of Mian Sahib will be proven wrong again. Recommend

  • Malik Liaquat Hussain
    Apr 22, 2016 - 5:02PM

    Another drama nothing else.Recommend

  • Shazia Bangash
    Apr 22, 2016 - 5:06PM

    A commission headed by the CJP is only half of the requirement. The Commission must be advised and auhorised to seek the services of a internationally reputed forensic-audit firm to investigate the paper trail because the FIA and NAB cannot get access to information abroad and are compromised anyway since their heads have been appointed by the Sharifs.
    I hope this letter is approved by the ‘real’ opposition before it is sent so we dont have a farce like we did with Zardari’s fake letter to the Swiss Courts.Recommend

  • Hasan
    Apr 22, 2016 - 5:13PM

    Why? Did Iceland and UK PMs address their Nations, answer is NO, simply step down Mr PM, return all the money and properties wherever in the World are in Sharif or any others name, this is the only acceptable solution of this crisis.Recommend

  • Azi
    Apr 22, 2016 - 5:15PM

    Basically he will repeat his “innocence” and fool masses yet again with Dale promises. Sad part is that People Will fall for it yet againRecommend

  • AA
    Apr 22, 2016 - 5:38PM

    Even the innocent can see through this game. Prime minister and immediate circle are not coming clean about their offshore accounts and Mayfair properties, trying their best to evade the issue, through that time-honoured device of a toothless commission.

    The writing is on the wall for those who can read. The army chief has already delivered a sharp warning, stressing the need for “across-the-board” accountability if stability and peace are to come to Pakistan. Today the government can still do something. Tomorrow might be too late, for somebody else then will be doing the deciding.Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Apr 22, 2016 - 5:43PM

    This is the only country where the accused is requesting a neutral commission under SC Judge to appoint ex judges for the commission after intense pressure from PTI. It is the only country where the accused PM is suggesting TORS ( terms of reference ) – a boundary within which the judges will keep themselves aligned to, is this fair ? IK stands vindicated. TORs technically should be made by a Parliamentary commission comprising 1 member each from the opposition parties and the govt to draw up TORs. But the govt will make cocktail of this issue and they will make the whole nation run behind a truck light waiting for commission report to be made public till 2018 new election time will come. Recommend

  • Incognito
    Apr 22, 2016 - 6:17PM

    Hope he resigns. Wishful thinking no?Recommend

  • YP Mississauga
    Apr 22, 2016 - 7:53PM

    Cry, baby cry. nothing else. Same old stories, others are all crooks and I am innocent. Just say Sir, where did your children got the money to start their business. Recommend

  • H Chaudhry
    Apr 22, 2016 - 8:01PM

    @Hasan NO PM does not need to step down because some people want. He was elected and he Must stay unless proven Guilty. This stupidity of asking to step down is jsut that stupidity and will never come true.Recommend

  • Tasadiq
    Apr 22, 2016 - 8:02PM

    @Azi

    The sad part is not that people will fall for his “innocence”
    The sad part is that there are people in Pak who will defend him Vigorously. Often for personal gains at the expense of Pakistan’s National Interest.

    We live in UK, and the amount of evidence available here about the wrongdoings of Pak Politicians is incredible.

    Bottom line is they have NO Self Respect and No Respect or affection for PakistanRecommend

  • cautious
    Apr 22, 2016 - 8:18PM

    Panama leaks place the burden on the politician to prove his innocence – not his guilt. Western politicians figured that our pretty quick – some sooner than later. Unfortunately in Pakistan this kind of speech is likely all you will get. Recommend

  • Amend Ali khan
    Apr 22, 2016 - 9:12PM

    Mian Sab, it is already proved so go home now with a little dignity. But I think you care less. For dignity. You like litter before going home.Recommend

  • Patriot
    Apr 22, 2016 - 9:13PM

    @sabi: You still stand by this man????? I mean are you blind and deaf???Recommend

  • Raghu
    Apr 22, 2016 - 10:48PM

    @Hasan:
    Why should he stepped on mere accusations. His name is not mentioned in Panama leaks. He has opened himself to full forensic audit and openly stated that he will resign if proven guilty. In the world you are innocent till proven guilty so why should he resign.Recommend

  • maz3tt
    Apr 22, 2016 - 10:53PM

    n league voters beware , this person only think about himself. he will have no problem dumping Pakistan for himself.Recommend

  • M.Saeed
    Apr 22, 2016 - 11:36PM

    These TOR require centuries to complete the given task!Recommend

  • Saleem
    Apr 22, 2016 - 11:44PM

    @H Chaudhry:

    Two PM’s from other countries have resigned and British PM was hauled up in parliament. Is Nawaz an angel that he should not resign?

    Besides it’s proved beyond doubt that the billion dollar apartments were obtained in early nineties. The sons obviously were kids then. Recommend

  • Voiceless Pakistani
    Apr 23, 2016 - 12:03AM

    Shamelessness is an asset

    to protect corruption assetsRecommend

  • Parvez
    Apr 23, 2016 - 12:03AM

    This is what is called….kicking the ball into the tall grass. He spoke about just about everything except his and his families involvement in the accusations raised in the Panama Papers………its is these accusations that the people want him to answer.Recommend

  • Sajjad Ashraf
    Apr 23, 2016 - 12:06AM

    Why involve the CJ. He should have the moral courage to resign while his wrongdoings are investigated.

    They are thieves who have accumulated this ill gotten wealth. How is that they have collected all the money in such a short time. His children did not get it from heavens. Even if they sold their conscience to the Saudis it is still corruption.

    Don’t let them go. This gang of thugs should be nabbed now. Recommend

  • Kashif
    Apr 23, 2016 - 12:21AM

    Mian Sahib we love you… They are not against you, they are against Pakistan, they are against of people of Pakistan. Mian sahib your enemies are against the prosperity of people of Pakistan. They are losers n they will be losers again. We are with you Mr. Prime Minister and we believe that you are clean and honest.Recommend

  • Khan
    Apr 23, 2016 - 12:43AM

    Was Zardari proven guilty??? He actually used whole state machinery to cleanup all the evidence.

    Who is he fooling???? PatwarisRecommend

  • Breaking Bad
    Apr 23, 2016 - 12:51AM

    If proven guilty then resignation would not be enough your highness.Recommend

  • truth
    Apr 23, 2016 - 12:55AM

    @maz3tt: PoTI n league beware, Taliban khan only think about himself. He will have no problem dumping Pakistan to get into PM house!Recommend

  • Malveros
    Apr 23, 2016 - 12:57AM

    Excellent hard hitting speech by the PM directed towards liars and conspirators ! We are with u PM and will elect you with even a bigger margin in 2018. Let this serve as a lesson to all the vultures in politics. Mian Nawaz Sharif’s family was rich even before most of these dimwits asking for his resignation / properties were born. These hypocrite, ignorant, clueless people should look within themselves first.Recommend

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    Apr 23, 2016 - 1:00AM

    What would be super surprising for the PPP – especially for the ones acting over-smart on this issue – is if Nawaz Sharif resigns out of nowhere and leaves the country and politics forever.
    Then all these bilawal pvt ltd types would disintegrate into their own poop.Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Apr 23, 2016 - 1:15AM

    Mr. Nawaz Shareef the Panama Leaks proved your guilt so step down like honest ones who left their posts.. Regarding terms of reference which are absurd and will take years to complete the inquiry. UR a real crook which is ready to sacrifice the country on the cost of his wealth. Recommend

  • Azi
    Apr 23, 2016 - 2:30AM

    @Patriot:

    You cant help him. People like him are literally mind slaves. Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Apr 23, 2016 - 4:09AM

    How could the people of Pakistan elect a business man as their Prime Minister? He is choosing the road to phoenix, knowng that the Government of panama will only provide the copy of the account to the Government and therefore he could sit it out. He prefers the IK way.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Apr 23, 2016 - 6:43AM

    @Patwari:
    Cheap shot. DO NOT use my name.
    I only comment on blogs.Recommend

  • Sajjad Ashraf
    Apr 23, 2016 - 7:47AM

    Resign…he should now bearing moral responsibility for his misdeeds and those of his children. And when guilty, which he is of money laundering, he should go to jail and pay back looted money. Recommend

  • syed & syed
    Apr 23, 2016 - 1:09PM

    @Sajjad Ashraf: It is hard to find moral responsibility in any politician and 90% of beurocrates in PakistanRecommend

  • zafar.s.siddiqi
    Apr 23, 2016 - 5:35PM

    Dear prime minister,You are governing as King with your entire family.Would you explain ”NO”.Recommend

  • Blue Eyed
    Apr 23, 2016 - 8:39PM

    Instead of abusing the Prime Minister of their country over Panama Papers,Pakistanis should care about the future of their country.Recommend

  • Armed Ali khan
    May 3, 2016 - 12:48AM

    @Blue Eyed: idiot without a good driver how can you run a car safely.Recommend

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