ISLAMABAD: A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, resumed hearing on Wednesday (today) in the petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami Muslim League (AML).
On the 11th day of Panamagate Case hearing, Prime Minister’s Counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan told the Supreme Court bench that the Prime Minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz was not his dependent.
Khan maintained that Maryam Nawaz’s name was listed as the PM’s dependent on tax forms because there was no other column on the sheet.
He added that the Prime Minister had given Maryam ‘gifts’ through a bank, and other money transfers to his children’s accounts had also been made via bank.
“The purpose of writing her name on the form was not to declare her a dependent,” the lawyer argued.
Makhdoom Ali Khan was reflecting on accusations made during the Panamagate case that Maryam Nawaz is a dependent of her father.
“It was alleged that Maryam Nawaz was declared a dependent in the nomination papers. The prime minister does not accept these accusations,” Khan said.
“The premier had said that in his household it is only him and his wife and he has no dependants,” he added.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed that the tax forms had been edited in 2015 and inquired, “when did the Panama matter emerge.”
“Panama came forward in 2016, before this the tax forms have been edited,” the prime minister’s lawyer responded.
He told the apex court that Nawaz Sharif had bought land under Maryam Nawaz’s name in 2011
“This property was not benami, was it?” asked Justice Gulzar.
Makhdoom Khan told the court that the accusations of tax evasion made against the prime minister are incorrect. He said that amounts of money had been gifted by the premier to his daughter through banks.
“A full record of all bank transactions is also available,” the lawyer said. “The petitioners have also accepted that the gifts were given through banks.”
The senior counsel told the court that in his arguments, Advocate Shahid Hamid, who is representing Maryam Nawaz in the Panamagate case, will also reflect on the matter of his client’s dependency.
“How can we listen to two different lawyers on one matter,” Justice Khosa asked the lawyer.
The prime minister’s counsel, Makhdoom Ali Khan, told the court that Nawaz had received a gift of $1.9 million from his son which was non-taxable. To this, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said, “There are two aspects of the case — first is tax evasion and the second is money laundering.”
Read more: Panamagate case: As matters were stated and stood before the SC Bench
The Supreme Court directed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz to explain how he earned $1.9 million which he “remitted to his father as a gift in 2011”.
In his remarks, Justice Khosa said it has been observed that people illegally sent money abroad and later some of it was remitted back in the country. He went on to say that now, the premier’s son has to provide the money trail of the amount which he remitted to his father.
During the hearing, the SC judge also referred to former interior minister Rehman Malik’s investigation report on “Sharif family’s money laundering in the 1990s and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s confession statement”.
The judge, however, observed that the report could not meet its logical conclusion as National Accountability Bureau (NAB) did not file an appeal against Lahore High Court’s order to quash the reference against the Sharif family in 2014. The apex court judge further said SC cannot re-investigate the matter under Article 184-3 of the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that the court wanted to see the account number of PM wherein he received money from his son. Justice Gulzar Ahmad also questioned why the gift money was not reflected in the prime minister’s wealth statement.
Read more: Panamagate: ‘PM is not seeking immunity’