ISLAMABAD: The special three-member implementation bench of the Supreme Court began proceedings of the high-profile case at 9:30 am.The three member implementation bench of the apex court is headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) legal counsel Naeem Bukhari presented his arguments in favour of the Panama case Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report in the Supreme Court. As per Bukhari’s arguments, the Sharif family has been unable to prove their statements regarding the Gulf Steel Mills in Dubai.
Bokhari argued that the respondents failed to provide evidence of the Gulf Steel Mills being sold for 33 million Dirhams nor was the payment of 12 million Dirhams to Qatar’s Al-Thani family proved by the Sharif family, he said.
He added that the UAE justice ministry did not verify the April 14, 1980, transaction of Gulf Steel Mills.
Bukhari also restated many other points raised by the investigators in their final report.
While the PTI counsel’s was presenting statements, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, said that since Shahbaz Sharif appeared before the JIT as a witness, his statement could only be used to identify discrepancies.
Terming the Qatari letter a fabrication, Bukhari said the London properties have been owned by Sharif family since day one. He informed that the JIT was given documents from a respondent. When Justice Ijazul Ahsan inquired whether they are certified, the PTI counsel replied in the negative.
Arguing further, Bukhari said that the JIT drafted four letters to the Qatari prince to record his statement but the royal family member showed his reluctance in accepting the jurisdiction of Pakistani law. “Even the JIT stated in its report that it is not necessary to record his statement,” he said further.
Bukhari further claimed that Nawaz Sharif is the chairman of the board of FZE Capital, confirming that his signatures are on documents related to the company. Justice Saeed asked the PTI counsel if they documents were brought to Pakistan through mutual legal assistance or via sources. Bukhari replied that the JIT can answer that query.
Justice Ijaz asked if the premier received a salary for his services. “According to the records he received remuneration throughout but did not get a monthly salary,” he observed further.
Bukhari also observed that the statements of the prime minister’s son Hasan and Hussain do not match.
Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) counsel Taufeeq Asif stated that the premier had miscommunicated before the JIT and that the JI fully supported JIT’s findings.
In response, Justice Ejaz stated that they were aware of the report’s findings too. Justice Ijaz observed that you [counsel] have to tell us why we should adhere to the JIT’s findings.
“The entire country knows the JIT’s findings…we are not bound by them,” he commented further.
You [counsel] have to inform us to what extent can we implement the JIT’s findings and use our authority, stated Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed.
Presenting Awami Muslim League’s arguments, party chief Sheikh Rashid, commented that the nation was embarrassed to find out its prime minister is a paid employee of another company.
The opposition leader said there is a face behind every case, adding that that face is of Nawaz Sharif when it comes to the Panama case.
He termed Saifur Rehman and Sheikh Saeed as front men of Nawaz Sharif. Rehman is a former government official and an old associate of the Sharif family.
“Maryam is proven to be the beneficial owner of the London properties,” claimed Rashid.
He stated that the entire nation fully supports the JIT and favours sending Nawaz Sharif to jail.
Khawaja Harris, the Sharif family’s lawyer, said a reference cannot be submitted on the basis of the JIT report. The JIT was doing what courts are required to do, he stated further. The bench observed that an investigation was required based on the nature of the allegations and was thus directed. “The JIT was not conducting a trial…choose you words carefully,” observed Justice Azmat.
Later, the bench adjourned the hearing until tomorrow (July 18).
Sharif family submits objections
As per sources, the Sharif family submitted its objections on the Panama case Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report to the apex court, on Monday. The Sharif family objected that the investigators worked beyond their mandate. The response called for a nullification of the report.
Sources are further reported to have said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also submitted his reply raising objections to the JIT report to the apex court.
The JIT, formed as a result of the April 20 judgment of the SC was assigned 60 days to probe the Sharif family’s money trail and submit its investigation report to the apex court on July 10.
Strict security measures were in place in and around the Supreme Court area with around 700 policemen, along with Rangers personnel and officials of the local administration deployed in the area.
Politicians from various parties attended the high-profile hearing.
July 10 hearing
Earlier, the JIT submitted its report before the bench last Monday. The report findings highlighted that the Sharif family had failed to provide a money trail for its London apartments and claimed the Sharif family owned assets beyond their known sources of income.
At the July 10 hearing, the bench also sought from the government transcripts of speeches made by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders Talal Chaudhry, Prime Minister’s Political Secretary Asif Kirmani and Railways Minister Saad Rafique. As per sources, the transcripts of the speeches have been submitted to the apex court.
In addition, the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued contempt of court notices to Jang group and owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rehman for publishing a story on the final report of Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) before the finalised report was submitted to the court.
A show cause notice was also issued to Ahmad Noorani.
Moreover, the court had summoned a reply from the Jang group within seven days., the bench had directed the JIT head Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director Wajid Zia to publicly reveal the name of the person who leaked the interrogation picture of the premier’s son, Hussain Nawaz.
The bench had also directed the JIT head Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director Wajid Zia to publicly reveal the name of the person who leaked the interrogation picture of the premier’s son, Hussain Nawaz.