ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday constituted a high-level judicial commission under the headship of a retired Supreme Court judge to examine the allegations against his family in Panama Papers’ disclosures.

In his televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he did not want to be entangled in the old allegations and asked those trying to make a case out of these baseless charges to appear before the commission and prove them.

The prime minister said he fully understood the motives behind the fresh wave of allegations, but did not want to waste his energies on responding to them as he was determined to rid the country of darkness and take it to the new heights of progress and prosperity.

Nawaz Sharif said he had never mixed his family’s business with his functions as the prime minister of Pakistan, adding though his aides said since there was no allegation against his person in the Panama Papers and he had done nothing unlawful or illegal, it was not obligatory on him to respond to these allegations.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said he thought it was better to take the nation into confidence and share the history of his family business concerns spanning over many years.

Nawaz Sharif said he was quite aware of the baseless allegations levelled by certain elements vying for petty political gains.

Such allegations, pertaining to 25 years back, were raised through the media, but he would inform the nation of factual position.

Referring to the ancestral businesses, he said his ancestors had set up Ittefaq Foundry in Lahore prior to the independence of Pakistan with a well established branch in Dhaka, which became a major source of employment and payment of taxes to the government.

The prime minister lamented his family and businesses were frequently politically witch-hunted in 1972 by the regime of the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who nationalised the Ittefaq Foundries which had then become a major steel industry in West Pakistan.

The hard work, investment and earning of his ancestors spanning over several decades since 1936 was ruined within minutes through political victimisation, he said. But it did not deter the strong resolve of his father who established six new factories within 18 months after nationalisation of Ittefaq Foundries, he added. “It was an unmatched precedent of patriotism and high spirits,” he said.

He said the Ittefaq Foundries were handed over to them in 1979 in complete dilapidated condition, but his father infused a new life into them.

The prime minister said it all happened when he had freshly graduated from the university. None of his family members was in politics or part of the then government at that time.

He said their industries were contributing millions of rupees to the state in the form of taxes. Prior to their joining politics, the family was victimised and was not spared even after their joining politics, he added.

He recalled a ship named Jonathan was not allowed to offload raw material in 1989 for their factory for one year, causing a loss of Rs 500 million to them, which was more than Rs 50 billion as per the current rupee value. During the second tenure of PPP, their businesses were destroyed through different tactics, he added.

The prime minister also referred to the situation in 1999 when his elected government was toppled; they were jailed and businesses were again ruined. Their ancestral home in Model Town was also taken away. They were sent in exile and the government machinery was misused against them and their businesses, he said. They had to tread the path of one-sided accountability, but they never faltered and emerged triumphant at every highest judicial forum as none of the allegations was ever proved against them, he added.

Premier Sharif said that during the period of their forced exile, his father set up a steel industry near Makkah after obtaining a loan from some Saudi banks.

After some period, the factory and its assets were sold out and his sons, Hassan and Hussain, utilised those resources for their new businesses, he said.

Hassan Nawaz, he said, had been residing in London since 1994 and Hussain Nawaz in Saudi Arabia since 2000.

The prime minister said his sons were doing their businesses abroad under the laws of the respective countries. He expressed his surprise over the strange logic under which they were being criticised for doing their businesses.

He said those who amassed wealth through unfair means neither owned companies did they keep assets in their names.

The prime minister said, despite the repeated attacks in different periods for the complete devastation of Ittefaq Foundries, his family repaid every penny of their debt amounting to around Rs 5.75 billion.

“Our family never got even a penny of principal or markup amounts written off. It will not be wrong to say that we have repaid even those debts which we had not borrowed,” he remarked.

Nawaz Sharif said he had informed the people of all aspects of the journey of their family’s business. He and his family had not indulged in an iota of dishonesty whether being in or outside the government and never linked their business with power, he concluded.