Hussain Nawaz visits Washington amid Panama scandle

WASHINGTON: At a time when the Panama papers have created a political buzz in Pakistan pushing the opposition parties to demand for accountability of the Sharif family, Mr Hussain Nawaz, the elder son of prime minister Nawaz Sharif spent a couple of days here in Washington and had meetings with various individuals, the News learnt here yesterday.

Sources aware of the visit revealed that Mr Hussain Nawaz, now in London, was on a surprised short visit to the U.S. over a week ago and stayed at a local hotel in the Georgetown area. The sources did not confirm if Hussain Nawaz had any meetings with American officials but maintained that the trip was private.

When asked Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. Jalil Abbas Jilani commented that he was not even aware of any such visit.

Given the situation in Pakistan, after the Panama paper revelations, Mr Hussain Nawaz preferred to keep the trip secret, sources said, adding that Hussain Nawaz met with the Sharif family's oldest friend Sheikh Saeed. Mr Saeed lives in Maryland and has been so close to Nawaz Sharif that in each official visit to the U.S. he accompanies prime minister in private and even official meetings. The sources further claimed that Mr Saeed and Hussain Nawaz also met with property related attorneys.

Mr Hussain Nawaz was reached out for his comments who maintained that he was on a personal trip. He kept it unannounced as he had to visit an old family friend. He also denied having any property in the U.S. "We neither had nor have any property in America," he told The News. Panama papers have already mentioned all and any property the family holds, he said. Hussain Nawaz also thanked the Pakistani American community for prayers and wishes of the well being of Nawaz Sharif as he undergoes medical treatment later today.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been under severe criticism from the opposition parties since the first batch of Panama papers came out. The prime minister's family was named in the papers as "owners or had the right to authorize transitions for several companies." More specifically, Mr Hussain Nawaz was described as the sole director of Hangon Property Holdings Limited incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in February 2007, which acquired Liberia-based firm Cascon Holdings Establishment Limited for about $11.2 million in August 2007."

Mr Hussain Nawaz has already in the past confirmed the names of the three companies operated by the Sharif family that were mentioned in the papers. On local media outlet he admitted two apartments were purchased in London after selling a steel factory operating in Saudi Arabia, adding that no tax is imposed on the particular apartments as is imposed on land owned by overseas Pakistanis.