ISLAMABAD: In a first-of-its-kind televised address to the nation revolving around his family, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday rubbished all allegations making rounds on media against the Sharifs after mega leak by Panama Papers. A visibly shaken prime minister announced to set up a ‘judicial commission’ to probe the matter and ascertain the facts about allegations of any wrongdoings on the part of his family and their involvement in off-shore companies. “I hereby announce to constitute a judicial commission to weigh the allegations being leveled against my family,” he told the nation in his address. “The judicial commission will be led by a former judge of the Supreme Court,” he said, and added that the commission will give its verdict after due investigation. “I ask those making oft-repeated allegations and raising hue and cry every other day to approach the judicial commission and prove their claims.” The prime minister said his aides maintained that since there were no allegations against his person in the Panama Papers and that he was not under any obligation to respond to such accusations, he was compelled to take the nation into confidence over politically motivated baseless allegations raised by certain elements vying for petty political gains. “I want the nation to decide for themselves the reality behind these allegations which are being leveled against my family for the last 25 years.” While explaining the start of his family business, the prime minister said, “My father started business in Lahore several years before the creation of Pakistan, and by the time of independence, Ittefaq Foundries had already achieved success with a well-established branch in Dhaka even.” “My family and their businesses were frequently politically witch-hunted by the regime of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto during 1972, who nationalised the Ittefaq Foundries which had achieved the status of major steel industry in West Pakistan by that time,” the prime minister lamented. “The hard work, investment and earning of his ancestors spanning over several decades since 1936 was ruined within minutes through political victimisation. But it did not deter the resolve of my father who established six new factories within 18 months and that too during the Bhutto regime,” he added. Nawaz said the Ittefaq Foundries were handed back to them in 1979 in complete dilapidated condition and his father infused new life into them. He said that it all happened when he had freshly graduated from the university. “Neither me nor any member of my family were politically engaged or part of the government by that time,” he said, and added that in 1989, a ship named Jonathan was not allowed to offload raw material of their factory for a whole year, causing a loss of Rs 500 million to his family, which amounts to Rs 50 billion if translated in today’s currency value. He said that during the second tenure of the PPP, their businesses were strangulated and Ittefaq Foundries were made to virtually shut down through different tactics. Explaining further, the prime minister said that his father established another industrial plant in Makkah during the days of their seven-year exile following the military coup in 1999. “The plant was later sold, and my sons Hassan and Hussain invested the funds into their businesses,” he clarified. The prime minister maintained his family repaid every penny of their debt amounting to around Rs 5.75 billion despite repeated victimisation in different periods that aimed at complete devastation of the Ittefaq Foundries. “My family never got written off even a penny from the principal amount or the mark-up. It won’t be wrong to say that we repaid even those debts that were not owed by us,” he said. Regarding business ventures of his sons, Nawaz said Hassan and Hussain are residing in London and Saudi Arabia since 1994 and 2000 respectively. “Both of my sons have been working under the legal ambit and are following rules and regulations of the host countries,” he said, and added those people who amass wealth through unfair means neither own companies nor keep the assets in their names. The prime minister said he was committed to rid the country of darkness and take it to the new heights of progress and development. He said he was paying all his attention to this commitment with the nation and hence had no time to respond to such allegations. “I fully understand the motives behind the fresh wave of allegations, but do not want to dissipate my energies on it,” the prime minister remarked.