LAHORE The five industrial units owned by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif paid a tax of Rs6 billion during the past one decade, claims a statement issued by the PML-N Media Centre on Wednesday, with an aim to refute the assertion that Nawaz paid a tax of Rs5,000 only. The Sharif Group comprises Ramazan Sugar Mills, Chaudhry Sugar Mills, Mehran-Ramazan Textile Mills, Hamza Board Mills and Hudaibiya Engineering (Pvt) Limited. The decade includes the period when the Sharif family remained in exile or Nawaz was in jail. This allegation holds no ground and is, in fact, part of the denigrating campaign that Nawaz Sharifs political opponents had unleashed soon after he launched himself in politics and subsequently ascended to power, the statement said. It said between the period, during which the Ittefaq Foundries was nationalised in 1972-73 and denationalised in 1978-79, the unit paid an amount of Rs100.789 million in customs duty, excise duty, utilities bills and electricity tariff while the said amount for the period 1978-79 to 1985-86 stood at Rs893.997. The Ramazan Sugar Mills paid to the national exchequer an amount more than RsRs3 billion and 158 million in sales tax, excise duty and income tax between a period between Sept 30, 1992 and Sept 30, 2009. Similarly, the Chaudhry Sugar Mills contribution was more than Rs3.116 billion. The Mehran-Ramazan Textile Mills deposited an amount of about Rs167 million in the public exchequer between Sept 30, 1993 and June 30, 2006 in sales tax, excise duty and income tax. Hamza Board Mills paid an amount of Rs16,30,33,380 in similar taxes between Dec 31, 1993 and June 30, 2006. Hudaibiya Engineering Company paid an amount of Rs9,18,36,092 in sales tax, excise duty and income tax between a period of Sept 30, 1994 and June 30, 2010. The above facts prove beyond doubt that Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his family had strictly followed the latest business laws and regulations. Whether in power or in opposition, the family had sought no personal benefits, business concession and bank loan except those available to ordinary person in business or industrial sector. Nawaz Sharifs years in power were also never used for an extraordinary financial and monetary advantage and promotion of the family industry. The statement said, On the contrary, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had always had to pay a heavy price for pursuing principled politics and the spirit to serve the country and the people. About the assertions that the Sharif family is under Rs4 billion bank debts, the statement said, Notwithstanding the fact that Nawaz Sharif had dissociated himself from the family business before taking up a political assignment, he can not, and should not, be held responsible if another member of the family had obtained a bank loan, the PML-N chief himself handed the Ittefaq Foundries to lending banks to adjust their loan amounting to Rs4 billion. It may be pertinent to mention that the Ittefaq Foundries assets were evaluated to be around Rs10 billion. The matter of adjusting bank loans is still pending in a law court and a decision by the court would go to the benefit of the Sharif family in terms of billions of rupees. This is also a glaring fact that when Gen Pervez Musharraf forced Nawaz Sharif and members of his family in forced exile in 2000, the military regime had taken the entire family property including the home at Model Town and the residence at Raiwind in custody and imposed a huge fine on the family. The family challenged the decision in a court, which is still adjudicating the claim. These examples vindicate Nawazs position that he or his family has never used his larger than life political status for the commercial and business of the family. He and his party continue to adhere to the politics of principles although he and his family had to pay a heavy price for this noble gesture in the national interest. About the reality of the 2005 stay order, the statement said it had never been projected in its real background. The fact of the matter is that this was obtained in 2005 when Nawaz Sharif and members of his family were through the Musharraf-dictated exile. As such, the question of the Sharifs obtaining the injunction does not arise nor Nawaz Sharif even impeded the way of banks in adjusting their loans against his familys asset, which were larger than actual industrial loan. It also remains an irrefutable fact that neither banks have so far agreed on their share of the loan size nor the court has itself given its decision on how much amount the banks would receive back. About the background of the family business, the statement said, Mian Mohammad Sharif, the father of the PML-N chief, and his brothers started a family business in steel sector in 1937. This business emerged as the Ittefaq Foundries that later became the familys identity in business circles. By dint of sheer hard work of all the shareholders, the Ittefaq Foundries had attained the status of the biggest steel producer by 1972 when it was nationalised without paying even a single penny in compensation. But the family and the business stakeholders neither did complain nor felt dismay and braved the loss with a national spirit and concentrated on its industrial consolidation to a degree that it had set up six more factories by 1977 by pursuing the dictum of unabated and continued struggle. Nawaz Sharif had not yet exposed himself to politics and had no political clout to influence others. It was not before 1983 that Nawaz Sharif became part of a government. By then the Sharif family had been obtaining industrial loans and banks had espoused no grievances against it. In short, no grievance against Nawaz and the family business arose between 1937 and 1983. When Nawaz Sharif started growing political influence, he started facing a screaming criticism on his business and that of the family and no doubt that was part of an ominous vilification campaign on the part of political opponents to damage his fast enlarging political stature. Concerted efforts were made to damage the familys business by maligning Nawaz in schemes that he and his family had never even thought of. One such example is the episode of MV Jonathan that anchored Karachis outer port on June 14, 1989 when Nawaz headed the Punjab government as the chief minister, the office he assumed after the 1988 elections. The PPP government at the centre did not allow cargo ship to unload a steel consignment of 28,000 tons and the issue was allowed to hang around for 11 months when the family had to pay an additional freight surcharge of $2.5 million to the ship before it returned with steel scrap still on board. One more example will explain how Nawaz Sharifs political opponents plotted to financially weaken him and the family. This relates to the refusal of the Pakistan Railways to supply 1,200 goods wagons every 40 days in violation of an agreement concluded with the family in 1980. The agreement, envisaging the supply of railways goods wagons, was spurned by the then minister for Pakistan Railways. The Ittefaq Foundries moved the Supreme Court in the dispute and the apex court ruled the case in favour of the Sharif family.