Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s woes over revelations in the Panama Papers intensified on Monday after a German newspaper tweeted documents purportedly linking his daughter Maryam Safdar to offshore assets.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung daily, which was the first recipient of leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, tweeted the documents that purportedly showed Maryam’s involvement in Minerva Financial Services, an offshore firm.
“For those in #Pakistan who doubt the role of the prime minister’s daughter Mariam Safdar in #panamapapers – some of the docs. Judge yourself,” it tweeted.
The tweet is accompanied by a document titled ‘Minerva Financial Services Limited Personal Information’ which contains personal details of Maryam. The ‘source of wealth’ section on the form says: “Family’s wealth and businesses which spread [sic] over 60 years”. A copy of her old passport also accompanied the tweet.
Minerva is the holding company for Nescoll and Nielson Enterprises, two offshore firms at the centre of the scandal engulfing the prime minister’s family.
During Panamagate hearings at the Supreme Court, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has been trying to establish that Maryam Nawaz, and not her brother Hussain Nawaz as claimed by the party earlier, was the beneficial owner of the Minerva Financial Services.
The party has already submitted these documents in the Supreme Court, where a five-judge larger bench is hearing a slew of petitions against the Sharif family over allegations of corruption.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb described the linking of Maryam to the Panama Papers scandal as “a conspiracy against the wives and daughters of Pakistan”.
Addressing the PML-N workers convention, Aurangzeb attacked PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his party for the leaks and said any slur on the women of Pakistan would not be tolerated.
“Those who do not have respect for their own daughters should respect the women of respected families,” she said and added that those who wanted to compete with the PML-N leadership should first deliver in the provinces where they were in power.
The opposition has repeatedly attacked Sharif after the Panama Papers leaks showed his three children owned offshore assets worth millions of dollars. Sharif is also under pressure to disclose the source of fund used to acquire these assets.
Though the documents posted by Süddeutsche Zeitung have already been submitted to the Supreme Court by the PTI, the German daily’s tweet put more pressure on the Sharif family to come clean on the issue.
Imran Khan said the material released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists showed that Maryam was the “beneficiary” of the luxury flats in London.
“Now that more evidence has been released, the Qatari letter and trust deed of the London flats hold no value,” the PTI chief said while addressing the media in the federal capital.
“Rather than trying to prove my allegations as false, the PML-N should question the ICIJ and the BBC over their recent revelations,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2017.