0321 GMT August 20, 2017
“What is happening here is not about corruption allegations against me, it is about slandering the businesses and accounts of my family,” said Sharif on Thursday after attending an interrogation in Islamabad in the office of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), a powerful panel of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, over allegations that his family members used government funds to run off-shore businesses, Press TV reported.
The Pakistani premier, who was reading a statement, appeared defiant as he insisted that the probe into his family's offshore wealth would go nowhere.
The probe began last year after the opposition threatened that it would stage protests over information leaked from the Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm showing that Sharif's daughter and two sons had bought luxury properties in London using two offshore holding companies they owned on the British Virgin Islands.
In a verdict in April, the Supreme Court rejected requests to remove Sharif from office, saying evidence was not sufficient, but it ordered further investigations.
Sharif is the first Pakistani prime minister to be questioned by the JIT. He says the family’s wealth has been gained legally and that the firms have used the wealth of his father, a prominent industrialist.
Sharif was ousted from office as premier two times in the 1990s. A coup in 1999 forced him into exile in Saudi Arabia, but he returned to office in an election in 2013, and has ruled Pakistan despite occasional disagreements with the powerful military on key foreign policy and national security issues.