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Rashid rejects allegations of corruption against Sharif family

ISLAMABAD, 04 APR (DNA) – Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid on Monday strongly rejected allegations of corruption leveled by Panama Papers against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members.

Talking to media in Islamabad, The Minister claimed that the Prime Minister has no foreign assets. He said his two sons are doing businesses abroad like hundreds of thousands of other Pakistanis doing the same in other countries.

 Their assets are in accordance with the law as they pay the taxes and they have established their businesses through white money, he added. Lashing out at PTI chief Imran Khan, the Information Minister said Khan’s children themselves are living in a foreign country and getting the education there.

He sid Imran Khan should apologise over levelling baseless allegations of corruption. Pervaiz Rashid said the prime minister has given unprecedented mega projects to the country and even his worst enemies could not prove any corruption against him.

He said given the challenges faced by the country including terrorism, mudslinging should be avoided for the better future of the country. Earlier, The Panama Papers whipped a storm of controversy over off-shore wealth, ensnaring political leaders, sports figures and underworld members across the globe in a snowballing scandal.

The leak, comprising 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, shows how some of the world’s most powerful people have secreted away their money in offshore jurisdictions.

Among those named are three of Nawaz Sharif’s four 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.

“There are more than 200 Pakistanis which our report has identified, and they include lawyers, lawmakers and some people from the judiciary,” he said. Opposition leader Imran Khan issued a swift call for action against Sharif after the release.

“Our stance vindicated again as Sharif’s wealth stashed abroad exposed,” he tweeted, adding the country’s accountability watchdog, tax authorities and election commission “must take action”.

But Sharif’s son Hussain said his family had done “nothing wrong”. “Those apartments are ours and those offshore companies are also ours,” he said in comments aired by the channel Monday.

“There is nothing wrong with it and I have never concealed them, nor do I need to do that. “It is according to British law and laws of other countries that it is a legal way to avoid unnecessary tax via offshore companies.

He left Pakistan in 1992, he added, and therefore is not resident, adding Pakistani tax law “says that if you are not staying in Pakistan for more than 138 days, then you are not required to declare your assets”.

Regarding Khan’s call for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to investigate, he said “we voluntarily present ourselves before it or any other judicial and investigative institution in Pakistan”.

And he issued one final dig at Khan, calling on him to provide “proof that the Prime Minister has not declared his assets”. “If he is successful in that then we are ready to accept our fault and undergo punishment,” he said. DNA

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