PM’s counsel points out five JIT members for partisan approach

  • Haris submits 11-page rejoinder with three-member SC bench

In his rejoinder to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report, Advocate Khawaja Haris, the lead counsel of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Papers case, targeted five out of six members of the team raising questions about their objectiveness and integrity.

He pointed out that all the five members had adopted partisan approach against the ruling family for their personal views or their family leanings or relationships. The 11-paged rejoinder, was submitted with the three-member Supreme Court bench, targeted Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) nominee Brigadier Nauman Saeed for his aggressive approach during questioning of the ruling family members.

Interestingly, the counsel did not write a single word against Military Intelligence (MI) nominee Brigadier Kamran Khursheed perhaps for obvious reasons. The petition says that one of the more aggressive members of the JIT whose description was given in one of the earlier applications (CMA No 3688 of 2017) submitted before this bench, was subsequently identified to be the ISI nominee.

“However, it has further been revealed that the ISI nominee was not officer of ISI at the time of his nomination, rather, he was ‘source employee’ under a contract which is not recognised as legal and reportedly neither his association with the premier intelligence agency not his pay is reflected in any official record. It is therefore humbly submitted that the JIT report may be considered in the light of the facts narrated hereinabove,” the petition said.

Regarding the remaining two members of the JIT, the counsel submitted that one of the respondents has already placed on the record vide CMA No 3687 of 2017 in Constitutional Petition No 29 of 2016, the facts showing predisposition of mind against the respondents of two of the members of the JIT, namely Bilal Rasool of SECP and Amir Aziz, who was nominated by the State Bank of Pakistan.

“The former, because of his and his family’s close association with PTI and PML-Q (including that of his wife who was inter alia a nominee of PML-Q for women’s seat in 2013 elections). And the latter, because of his having acted during Gen Pervez Musharraf’s regime as specialist in banking qua investigation relating to the Hudaibiya Papers Mills case.”

Furthermore, the petitioner stated that it has transpired during the course of the investigation that the appointment of another member of the JIT, namely Irfan Naeem Mangi, in NAB is under cloud pursuant to an order passed by another learned bench of this august court.

“As regards Mr Wajid Zia, additional director of FIA, is submitted that he has shown his partisanship in the matter by hiring his cousin’s firm in the UK for advice and assistance, and that too under the garb of Section 21(g) of the NAO, 1999, which doesn’t envisage hiring of private firms and entities for this purpose,” the rejoinder maintained.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]