...which is kept in a safety deposit box on the Virgin Islands, I would like to start out by saying that we – the Sharif family, as you can see from our name – have done nothing wrong. We have done nothing right either, but we have done nothing wrong.
We haven’t run away from Pakistan, we’ve just gone on an indefinite vacation, to visit our ancestral village of London. I didn’t even know what was going on. When Maryam called and said the scandal has gone public, I thought she was talking about Hamza Shahbaz’s new hair.
Please stop sending us spam messages like “doctors in England concluded that Nawaz Sharif is suffering from Panamonia, an offshore variation of Pneumonia.” Who even writes stuff like this? I suspect Chaudhry Nisar, he’s always on his phone.
What are these Panama Papers? I have heard of Matric Papers; I failed mine. But never the Panama Papers. How did they even find our names in 11.5 terabytes of data? Did they control-F ‘Nawaz Sharif’? Who was doing the research? A PTI supporter?
The first time father messaged me about the Panama Leaks he said “Bubloo this will make us all look bad.” I had to reassure him that it was okay, he already looks bad.
So I went and talked to the press. How could I have done anything wrong? I am the greatest businessman the world has seen since Henry Ford. Money was the only thing I wasn’t allowed to eat as a child, so I gained great respect and admiration for it.
Where did the money come from? When we were little, our grandmother gave us goat banks (because pigs are haram), and we put aside all our pocket money to later invest in offshore companies and a few humble properties in London. Hassan used to get a million rupees as lunch money and Maryam got a property transferred to her name every time she wanted ice cream.
The money also came from our many friends and their generous gifts. Gifts in return for favours are not bribes, by the way; they’re just gifts in return for favours.
“Offshore company.” Sounds like a romantic getaway on a yacht, but it’s just a way for rich people wanting to escape places that make you pay taxes to go to a romantic getaway. Father explained it best when he said “Bubloo, the accountants say it is a tax heaven, so think of the 72 Virgin Island accounts as a reward.”
There’s nothing illegal about it either. Or about sending money back home. Like any other well earning member of a poor Punjabi family, I send remittances back home so that my parents can eat and buy more gold lion statues. If the Federal Bureau of Revenue wants to tax us, they are advised to open an office in the Virgin Islands.
Bhutto is the one who took these companies away from us, all the way to the Caribbean. If anyone is to be blamed, it’s him. Taxes go to the government anyway, and the government is my father. What son has to pay taxes to his father?
My only duty is to send money to the old man. If Bilawal sent remittances like I do, Zardari wouldn’t need new schemes of making money.
Because of the great pain in his stomach, father had to fly to London for medical treatment in our private flat, away from all this noise. He can’t digest food when he’s stressed. He should really retire from Pakistani politics, move to Panama and become president there. He could just buy their cabinet. Maryam was being a nag because someone photographed him at a shop. She said, “Father, the doctor said try and relax, not try and Rolex.” The truth is he was just selling his watches to pay for the medical expenditure. He doesn’t have any money of his own you see, it’s all in his children’s name.
I accidentally contradicted Maryam on television when she said she doesn’t have property in her name. She’s been very mean to me since. She says, “Bubloo, not only do you look like a badly photoshopped version of our father, but you’re not even good at lying.”
They’ve been protesting outside my flat here in London. Sometimes, when I get bored, I go and join them. “Go Nawaz Go,” they shout. It’s like they’re cheering him on.
This was originally published in the Herald's May 2016 issue. To read more subscribe to the Herald in print.