Panama leak: EC asks Sharif to reply on disqualification pleas

From Sajjad Hussain Islamabad, Aug 17 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister NawazSharif was today asked by Election Commission to reply within20 days on petitions filed by opposition parties seeking hisdisqualification for hiding information about his allegedoffshore wealth revealed by the ‘Panama Papers’ leak. The commission asked Sharif to reply by September 6 to theaccusations that he had been hiding his offshore wealth. It also issued notices to Sharif’s son-in-law Captain(retd) Muhammad Safdar, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, PunjabChief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz. Thedeadline to reply for them too remains the same. The petitions seeking Sharif’s disqualification were filedin June by Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf,Pakistan Awami Tehreek and Awami Muslim League. Sharif has been under fire since the leak of 11 milliondocuments from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in Aprildisclosed Sharif’s two sons and a daughter owned properties inthe UK that were not shown on his family’s wealth statement. The allegations that Sharif hid his offshore wealth toavoid taxes has called his credentials into question. The allegations had led to panic among the top members ofthe ruling PML-N party. Sharif had left for London soon afterthe leak on an unscheduled visit for medical treatment. He returned to Pakistan after eight weeks and following anopen heart surgery on May 31. Sharif has dismissed the leaks calling it a work of people"targeting me and my family for their political aims". He alsosuggested that those "who use ill-gotten wealth don’t keepassets in their own names". The ‘Panama Papers’ – as the leaks came to be known -revealed details of dodgy offshore financial dealings gleanedfrom millions of leaked documents from the Panamanian firm.PTI SH ABH AKJABH

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