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Pakistan PM Sharif’s assets doubled to Rs 2 billion in 4 years

Against the backdrop of the Panama Papers leaks, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has emerged as one of Pakistan’s richest politicians with personal assets of more than Rs 2 billion.

world Updated: Apr 22, 2016 16:47 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
Election Commission,Panama Papers,Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
The value of assets owned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his spouse comes to more than Rs 2 billion - an increase of over a billion in just four years. (AFP)

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is one of Pakistan’s richest politicians with declared personal assets in excess of Rs 2 billion, an increase of more than a billion in just four years.

According to data released by the Election Commission, Sharif has no assets abroad but receives significant amounts from his son Hussain Nawaz, who is settled in Britain.

The statements of assets for 2015 was released by the poll panel amid a controversy over the Panama Papers leaks, which showed Sharif’s two sons and a daughter were among around 220 Pakistanis who own offshore assets.

The Election Commission had removed the information on the wealth of MPs from its website on the pretext that it is no longer a legal requirement to provide details of assets. On Thursday, the information was updated and put back on the website.

The website shows the value of assets owned by Sharif and his spouse at more than Rs2 billion.

The value of his assets in 2011 was Rs 166 million, which swelled to Rs 261.6 million in 2012 and then to Rs1.82 billion in 2013, making him a declared billionaire.

In 2014, the value of his assets rose to Rs 2 billion. Sharif received more than Rs 215 million from his son Hussain Nawaz in 2015. He had previously received Rs 239 million and Rs 197. 5 million as remittances from his son in 2014 and 2013.

Sharif owns a Toyota Land Cruiser, which was gifted to him by an unspecified individual, and two Mercedes cars. He has multiple foreign and Pakistani currency accounts, huge tracts of agricultural land and investments in sugar, textile and paper mills.

He also declared, for the first time, ownership of birds and animals worth Rs 2 million.

The release of the data coincided with the sacking of several senior military officers by the Pakistan Army chief for corruption. Gen Raheel Sharif has called for across the board accountability to root out graft and ensure the success of the campaign against terrorism.

The army chief’s action has increased pressure on the Prime Minister to initiate an investigation against the 220 Pakistanis named in the massive leak of documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Prime Minister Sharif has insisted that his family has done nothing wrong. On Thursday he told a meeting of senior members of his PML-N party that his hands were clean.

Besides Sharif, the few other billionaires in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament are petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Khayal Zaman and Sajid Hussain Toori, both lawmakers from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Observers said the declarations by the MPs were misleading as they undervalued their assets in their declarations to the Election Commission.

First Published: Apr 22, 2016 14:58 IST