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Imran Khan, Sharif’s party trade charges on ‘Panamagate’

world Updated: Dec 06, 2016 22:13 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
Panama Papers

File photo of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (AFP)

Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party exchanged charges and accusations on Tuesday as the Supreme Court heard a case related to financial irregularities revealed in the Panama Papers leaks.

Khan claimed his party had successfully proved that Sharif had lied to the nation and to parliamentarians. Addressing the media in Islamabad, Khan said documents submitted by Sharif did not clear him and his family of illegally amassing foreign assets.

“Nawaz claims his property in London was bought after selling Gulf Steel, established by his father in Dubai. But the documents show Gulf Steel was suffering losses…how could he have bought such expensive properties by selling another that was in loss?” Khan said.

Information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb responded by insisting there was no proof that linked the Sharif family to any wrongdoing. She said Khan was making irresponsible statements against the prime minister without any proof.

Khan also lauded his party’s counsel Naeem Bukhari and his team for doing a “wonderful job” in the Supreme Court. “The PTI has submitted evidence of Nawaz’s lies in court and the burden of proof is now on the Sharif family and their lawyers,” he said.

Pakistan Awami League chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed alleged in court that Sharif received kickbacks of $300 million from foreign investors in motorway projects in 1992 and 1993. During the hearing of the Panama Leaks case, he alleged that during his tenure as information minister, German agent Robert Harsch visited Pakistan for meetings with dignitaries and offered $300 million as commission.

Though Rasheed claimed he too was part of those meetings, he failed to produce documentary evidence.

While the Sharif family was in the spotlight, Khan was also accused of hiding his sources of income. Khan told the Election Commission on Monday that the land for his sprawling residence at Bani Gala in Islamabad was a gift from his former wife Jemima.

Khan claimed Jemima was the owner of the 300 kanals of land, which she gifted to him when they divorced. He also said he had later paid Jemima by selling his London apartment.

Sharif and his family have been pressured by the opposition since the Panama Papers leaks revealed his three children, including heir apparent Maryam Nawaz, owned offshore assets worth millions of dollars. The Supreme Court has raised questions about Maryam’s finances.

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