ISLAMABAD: After the Sharif family was named in the Panama Papers ─ one of the biggest leaks in history ─ Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's son, Hussain Nawaz Sharif, told Geo that his family had done "nothing wrong" as they defended their ownership of offshore companies.
The Panama Papers 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'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.
"Those apartments are ours and those offshore companies are also ours," Hussain 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 and is therefore not resident, he said, adding that 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".
'Voluntarily present ourselves before NAB'
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Monday claimed that the revelations in the Panama Papers vindicated his party's stance and reiterated his call for fresh elections and probes by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Board of Revenue, and the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Regarding Imran's call for NAB to investigate the matter, Hussain Nawaz 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.
Imran Khan is set to hold a press conference in Bani Gala at 5pm.
Sharif family's offshore holdings are legal, says Pervaiz Rashid
Speaking to the press on Monday, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid strongly rejected revelations of the Panama Papers.
"Two children of [Nawaz] Sharif used to live abroad. They did not do any illegal work, all their assets are white money, there is nothing wrong in it."
"Can Imran Khan or other politicians claim none of their kith or kin reside abroad or do business offshore?"
Rashid continued: "In 1970, Sharifs’ companies were nationalised without due compensation, their homes were snatched, was that not injustice?"
"They decided their father is in politics and so they’ll stay away from politics. They were forced to take these decisions by authoritarian rulers of the past."