Submitting documentary evidence in the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz claimed that their London flats had been bought through Qatari investment.
As the five-member larger bench, chaired by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, started hearing the Panama Leaks case on Tuesday, Advocate Akram Sheikh, the counsel representing the PM’s children, presented a letter from a Qatari prince claiming the flats were purchased through the settlement of accounts between his family’s company and the Sharif family.
Addressed to the SC, the letter from Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Muhammed Al Thani states that in 1980, Mian Muhammad Sharif had invested 12 million Dirhams in the Al Thani company belonging to the Qatari prince’s father. “In the year 2006, the accounts in relation to the above investment were settled between Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Al Thani family, who then delivered the bearer shares of the companies referred in para 4 above to a representative of Hussain Nawaz Sharif,” the letter stated.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa asked Sheikh whether the Qatari prince would appear as witness in court.
Sheikh also submitted documents comprising 397 pages as evidence, containing details of transactions and receipts of payments since 2011.
He said that in January 1972, the six industrial units owned by the PM had been taken over by the government. “Six of them were in West Pakistan while one was in East Pakistan. The PM went to Dubai and set up a steel mill there without any investment from Pakistan. The capital came from Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum. A total of 75 percent shares of the company went to Al-Hali group. In 1980, the PM sold 20 percent shares,” he said. Sheikh maintained that no money had gone out from Pakistan.
The court remarked that his statement was different from what the PM had said in Parliament. Justice Khosa said that the prime minister had said that he had sold a mill in Dubai to build a mill in Azizya.
Sheikh said that he represented the PM’s children and not the prime minister. “You can question Salman Butt about it,” he said.
Sheikh also objected to the formation of a commission to probe the Panama Leaks case and requested that the court to continue hearing the case.
Though Maryam Nawaz has submitted the evidence required by the court, her brothers, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz failed to submit the documents on Tuesday. The bench expressed disappointment over the failure of the premier’s sons to comply with court orders. The apex court directed them to submit the relevant documentary evidence by November 17 (Thursday). The bench also directed all parties to exchange the documents.
Earlier on Monday, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed had submitted documentary evidence to the court.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Justice Azmat Saeed said that documents submitted by the PTI had no relation with the case. “The documents include newspaper clippings. The petitioner himself has buried the truth,” Justice Azmat stated.
The bench observed that one side had submitted 700 pages while the other had submitted 1,600 pages. “We are not a computer that can scan documents in a minute,” Justice Saeed said.
“Why are you wasting the court’s time with tales from the Arabian Nights? Can we announce death sentence over a newspaper story which says Allah Ditta killed Allah Rakha?” he asked PTI lawyer Hamid Khan.
The apex court maintained that it would not investigate corruption. “If someone has committed corruption, the lower courts can take care of it,” the bench observed.
Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali also expressed displeasure over the documents submitted by PTI.
The chief justice said that he wanted to keep the focus on the London flats. “The parties have submitted too many documents in the court. We wanted to give the verdict in two or three days. But we have received too many documents. It is difficult to differentiate between real and fake documents. In this situation, we might not be able to give a verdict within six months,” he said.
The hearing was then adjourned for November 17.
Later while addressing the media after the hearing, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif expressed complete trust in the SC. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has presented himself for accountability at every forum, including the Parliament and judiciary,” he said.
To a question, he said that it was for the SC to decide the credibility of the evidence presented by the parties.
Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq, who was also present on the occasion, said the proceedings of the Panama Papers case were moving forward.
“Unfortunately, our opponents are promoting politics of lies and allegations. They are creating hurdles in the way of development of the country,” he said.
He said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government would continue to work for the development and prosperity of the country.