#PanamaPapers: Pakistan Prime minister promises to resign if indicted

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Pakistan’s embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday announced he would resign if found guilty of having committed any wrongdoing, following a probe into the Panama Papers leak.

Mr. Sharif addressed the nation for the second time this month after the opposition increased the pressure on him to come clean in allegations linking his children to offshore companies.

However, Mr. Sharif has promised to set up a high-level judicial commission headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court in a speech on April 5.

Meanwhile, the opposition rejected this plan, demanding instead a probe under the current chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Sharif, however, accepted the demand.

“I challenge those accusing me of wrongdoing to prove that before the probe commission and, if anything is proved, I will step down without any delay,” he said.

The leak comprises 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

The documents suggested that dozens of current and former heads of state, politicians and others from the world’s elites have hidden their money using offshore tax havens.

According to media reports, Mr. Sharif’s two sons and a daughter were among around 200 individuals from Pakistan having offshore companies which own properties in Britain.

Mr. Sharif’s speech came a day after the reported sacking by the powerful army chief of no fewer than six army officers, including a lieutenant general, for corruption.

The army so far neither confirmed nor denied the sacking, the timing of which is believed to have increased the pressure on Mr. Sharif, who has uneasy ties with the security establishment.

Mr. Sharif was deposed by the army in 1999 and later exiled to Saudi Arabia in 2000.

He came back in 2007 and won the election in 2013 to become prime minister for a record third time.

Reports say his policy of a peaceful neighbourhood, emphasising normal ties with India, is believed to have not gone down well with the army.

This is due to the traditional rivalry between Pakistan and India.

(dpa/NAN)


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