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PM Nawaz orders judicial inquiry into Panama Papers allegations

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his address to the nation on Tuesday, refuted allegations against his family that came into prominence through Panama Papers — an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from an offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca.

The prime minister announced formation of an independent judicial commission, headed by a former judge of Supreme Court, to probe allegations against his family.

“In my entire political career, this is the first time I am here to clarify something related to [my family],” Nawaz said. “Once again, some people are trying to defame [us]. Time and again, these allegations are being repeated in media for the past 25 years.”

The prime minister said that his father, Mian Mohammad Sharif, had established Ittefaq Foundries before Pakistan came into being. “Before the country’s inception, it had become a strong institution and had a branch in Dhaka as well,” he said.

“Ittefaq Foundries was returning revenues to the state in the form of taxes,” the premier said, adding that after the Fall of Dhaka in 1971, the East Pakistan branch couldn’t function any longer and later due to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s nationalised policies, the Lahore branch was also taken away from his family.

“Since 1936, we were robbed off the assets our elders had established. But we didn’t lose hope and worked hard. We managed to establish six [new] factories during the Bhutto era,” Nawaz said.

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