After Wiki Leaks, the world has been introduced to Panama Papers. Panama Papers implicate the global elite over their financial activities. These elites also include various members of the Sharif family, currently ruling over Pakistan with Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister. However, the latest leaks regarding PML-N and the Sharif family does not seem very damning for either. According to legal experts, the Panama papers do not prove any illegality on part of the Sharif family or others associated.
At least 200 Pakistani citizens were identified in the leaks including members of the Sharif, and Bhutto Family. Other prominent government officials and businessmen were also mentioned. According to the documents released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Mariam Safdar, Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz had the right to authorize transactions for several companies where Mariam Safdar is the beneficial owner of the offshore firms Nescoll Limited and Nielsen Enterprises Limited. These companies were incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in 1993 and 1994, respectively.
An offshore company or corporation can be established in order enjoy the tax relief provided by a particular region. Panama Papers implicate the Sharif family of having established several offshore companies. According to a senior Supreme Court Lawyer Hasnain Ibrahim Kazmi, the establishment of an offshore company is a routine matter and are created in order to avail certain tax holidays. As an example, the government of Pakistan designated Hattar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Gwadar in Baluchistan as tax-free zones. The initiative aims to invite foreign investment. If for example, Ford were to establish a manufacturing plant in that zone, they will do so to enjoy the tax-free environment it offers and it will be an offshore company. As such, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
If the offshore companies mentioned in the Panama Papers are used for criminal and/or illegal activities, it would result in serious implications for the accused within the Sharif family, including the Prime Minister of Pakistan and the Chief Minister of Punjab. Such uncertainty will prevail until an investigation agencies clears the companies owned by the Sharif family. A senior Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official who preferred to remain anonymous stated that every businessman would want to avoid tax as long as the law in a particular area allows it. If the offshore company is established in a tax-free zone, there is nothing unlawful about it.
Whether or not the Panama Papers have any serious implications for the Sharif family will be revealed in due time however, the picture as it is now, suggests that PML-N is not in any serious danger given the fact that owning offshore companies is not unlawful.You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ for more updates. Otherwise fill in the subscription box above, or subscribe to our RSS Feed.