–Deposed PM’s daughter says JIT report cannot be submitted in court as evidence
—Says she was hardly one year old when Gulf Steel Mills was established, denies any knowledge about its operations
–Nawaz Sharif says those who have dragged his daughter to court will bear consequences of their actions
ISLAMABAD: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz on Thursday said that the report prepared by the Panama Papers Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was “irrelevant” in the Avenfield properties reference, as she raised multiple objections against the JIT that had investigated her family’s business dealings at the behest of the Supreme Court.
Recording her statement in the corruption reference in the court of Judge Muhammad Bashir, Maryam said that the JIT document was an investigative report and could not be submitted as evidence.
She also termed the inclusion of two officials of intelligence agencies in JIT “inappropriate” and questioned the competence of the entire team.
“Brigadier (r) Nouman Saeed, a director in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was also a member of the committee that had probed the issue of Dawn Leaks, which had intensified civil and military tension,” she said, adding that Irfan Mangi, another member of the JIT, was also controversial as the matter of his appointment as National Accountability Bureau (NAB) director general was still being heard by the apex court. The representative of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in the JIT, Amir Aziz, has close ties to former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf, she added.
“The formal application to obtain Volume X of the JIT report (comprising the MLA requests) was moved but the prosecution opposed the request and the court dismissed the plea,” she recalled. “Therefore, [subsequent] use of these documents violated my right to a fair trial.”
When quizzed over the establishment, running and sale proceeds of Gulf Steel Mills, Maryam said that she was hardly one year old when the mill was established, adding that she had no information about the operations of the mill and how its shares were disposed of. She also claimed that she knew nothing about the statements of Tariq Shafi regarding the two agreements for the disposal of the shares of Gulf Steel Mills.
Maryam said: “Arrangement of the transfer of shares and appointment of any director of Hudaibiya Paper Mills from the Sharif family was the exclusive domain of my late grandfather, Mian Muhammad Sharif. He was the sole person responsible for setting up all business concerns; me or my father did not contribute or had any role in this regard.”
During the course of the hearing, Judge Muhammad Bashir had to interrupt Maryam when she started reading a written statement along with commas and full stops. When the judge asked her not to read the commas and full stops, former premier’s daughter said that she had been advised by her lawyer to read the full statement including the commas and the full stops.
Maryam’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz also suggested to the court that her answers could be “copied and pasted” in order to expedite the proceedings and not have the court typists rekey the same information — a request that was accepted by the judge.
Nawaz had his statement recorded earlier and had denied involvement in Capital FZE, dealings with the Qatari royal family, Dubai Steel Mills and the Avenfield properties.
‘THOSE WHO DRAGGED MARYAM TO COURT WILL SUFFER’:
Meanwhile, expressing his displeasure before reporters after the court appearance of his daughter, Nawaz Sharif said those who had dragged Maryam to court will bear the consequences of their actions.
The former PM claimed that Maryam had no connection with politics, but yet she is being dragged into court cases.
“What could be worst than dragging her into court out of revenge and spite,” he questioned. Nawaz added that family members who have no connection to governmental affairs are being dragged through court. “In this ruthless game, you are even involving our daughters.”
“Don’t choose a path which makes it impossible to return from,” said the deposed prime minister while criticising those who took the Sharif family to court. “Everyone will have to bear the consequence of this behaviour,” Nawaz added.
“Maryam has no connection to the era for which we are being punished. They are questioning her about Gulf Steel. She was only a year old at the time,” he said.
Nawaz questioned those campaigning against him and asked what ‘they’ want from the country and him. “We have made ourselves a joke in the world.”