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Pakistani Premier Says Will Resign If Inquiry Finds Wrongdoing

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif bowed to opposition demands that he ask Pakistan's chief justice to set up an independent commission to investigate offshore accounts linked to his family.

In a national address on April 22, Sharif said he would accept the commission's findings and even resign if called upon. The panel will be looking into the Sharif family's offshore real-estate holdings which were recently disclosed in a massive leak of documents.

Sharif's sons are among several politicians, business leaders, and celebrities whose offshore dealings were disclosed in documents leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co., mostly detailing how the wealthy avoid tax obligations using offshore accounts.

Sharif's daughter, Maryam, who has been mentioned as a possible political successor, was named along with his sons Hasan and Hussain as a custodian of the family's offshore holdings.

Sharif had earlier said he would designate a retired judge to lead the investigation. But that drew criticism from opposition politician Imran Khan and others who demanded a commission established by the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Sharif has denied any wrongdoing during his 30-year political career, saying the fact that he is serving a third term proves the nation has confidence in his "clean and transparent politics."

He dismissed allegations of corruption, saying they had been investigated long ago and that no wrongdoing had been found, even during the rule of General Pervez Musharraf, who overthrew Sharif in a 1999 military coup.

"We believe in uprooting corruption and providing good governance for the people," Sharif said, adding that his critics want him to "respond to baseless allegations instead of serving the masses."

"If the allegations leveled against me and my family members are proved, I will resign without any delay," he said.

Separately, Panamanian investigators on April 22 raided a property used by the Mossack Fonseca law firm and removed bags full of shredded documents as evidence, a local prosecutor said.

With reporting by AP and AFP