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Sharif family must prove money trail, here or in trial court: SC

ISLAMABAD, JUL 18 (DNA) -On the second consecutive day of Panama Leaks case hearing, Supreme Court (SC) bench clarified the Sharif family to prove money trail, here or in trial court.

A three-member SC bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan resumed the hearing of Panamagate during which the bench said that the matter could have been resolved by showing assets and resources.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that Sharif family adopted the approach to not tell anything to the JIT that was tasked to inspect every available record.

Presenting arguments over Panamagate JIT report, Sharif family lawyer Khawaja Harris said that JIT proceeded from the mandate as it was allowed to find answers of only thirteen questions but it included two more queries by its own.

He said that neither JIT report is authentic nor its probe was fair. He said that JIT proceeded from the mandate as it was allowed to find answers of only thirteen questions but it included two more queries by its own.

No probe can be carried out on the report as JIT didn’t collect evidence through legal source, he continued.

He said Sharif family’s stance was not taken while compiling the report. The documents could have been taken from foreign governments as per National Accountability Bureau (NAB) rules. Justice Ejaz Afzal said that it’s not right to dismiss the record on the reason they were gathered from third party.

Justice Ijaz said that NAB rule also suggests that subordinate departments of government come under the definition of foreign states.

Justice Azmat remarked that Sharif family was given full chance to present its stance before JIT regarding London flats. He said PM Nawaz didn’t recognize his uncle during his JIT appearance.

Money trail of London flats is still a mystery, Justice Ijaz said.JIT bench continued that PM Nawaz was unsure about the owner of London flats that is his own son Hussain Nawaz.

The court said that the case was forwarded to JIT due to unsatisfactory arguments of Sharif family. The members said we are not bound to follow JIT suggestions but can make decision on uncontroversial documents.

We are still waiting for complete details of Sharif family’s assets, said Justice Ijaz.

The counsel said JIT inspected those cases which were already disposed of by the courts over which the bench asked do you mean that JIT cannot review the past cases.

The court remarked that Sharif family hasn’t denied any document in its plea on which Khawaja Harris said that JIT didn’t ask for explanation on any data.

Justice Azmat asked about the bank account of Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif in Saudi Arabia on which Khawaja Harris said that he has one and that the details of premier’s assets have already been submitted in the court.

He said volume 10 was not made public on which Justice Ijaz remarked that there is no evidence present in this volume but we can also open it if you insist.

The court has also assured that JIT is not investigating the case anymore.

Moreover, the hearing has been adjourned till Wednesday.

PM Nawaz Sharif in April narrowly escaped disqualification after the Supreme Court ruled there was insufficient evidence to remove him by a 2-3 split over documents released by the Panama Papers leak into off-shore wealth.

But it ordered further investigations, and the formation of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) panel that included Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia, Military Intelligence’s Brig Kamran Khurshid, National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, State Bank of Pakistan’s Amer Aziz, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s (SECP) Executive Director Bilal Rasool and Inter-Services Intelligence’s Brig Muhammad Nauman Saeed.

The JIT members during the seven-week period interrogated eight members of Sharif family including Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif, his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif, sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, daughter Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law Captain Safdar, cousin Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and brother-in-law Ishaq Dar and submitted its report on July 10.

Panama Papers had published a leak of documents belonging to Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in April 2016 creating uproar in Pakistan among other countries. The leak was studied by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and stated names of incumbent as well as former leaders of the world who owned shell companies.

Opposition parties in Pakistan saw offshore companies owned by daughter and two sons of PM Nawaz as means to either stash wealth in foreign accounts or purchase assets abroad.The top court took up the case in October last year on petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Awami Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami and reserved the verdict in February after conducting hearings on daily basis.

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