Panamagate JIT overstepped jurisdiction, lawyer tells court | Pakistan Today

Panamagate JIT overstepped jurisdiction, lawyer tells court

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Haris resumed presenting his concluding arguments in the Avenfield properties reference against the Sharif family on Thursday, arguing that the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) had overstepped its defined jurisdiction while probing the issue.

The Avenfield reference, pertaining to the Sharif family’s London properties, is among the three filed against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year on the Supreme Court’s directives in the Panama Papers case.

As the hearing went underway in the court of Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir, Haris submitted that the JIT was formed as an investigative body. The counsel also referred to the SC’s judgement of April 20, 2017, wherein the JIT’s formation was ordered.

Responding to the counsel’s objections to the JIT report, the judge remarked that Haris should have objected to specific portions of the report instead of the overall document. The defence lawyer said the SC had noted that NAB was unwilling to take up proceedings hence the JIT was formed. He remarked that the Panama JIT was a complete investigation agency, which was bound to work within its defined jurisdiction.

Harris informed the court that JIT head Wajid Zia had presented documents in court that were not related to the case.

“When Nawaz was not related to the family business, why was he being asked to present documents?” Haris said, adding that Zia had admitted in court that a direct link between Nawaz and his sons’ businesses had not been established.

Responding to Haris, Judge Bashir remarked that the court will announce its verdict on making the JIT report a part of the court’s record.

The hearing was then adjourned till June 22.

Harris resumed his role as Nawaz’s chief counsel on Tuesday after having recused himself earlier owing to the SC’s new one-month deadline.

In his arguments on Wednesday, he asserted that Nawaz did not accept ownership of the London properties.

He further said that the burden of proof lies on the prosecution. “Here the prosecution has put the burden of the proof on the defence”.

“Nawaz’s ownership was never proven. If the ownership had been proven only then we could have discussed the supposed difference between income and assets,” he added.

Nawaz and Maryam were on Tuesday granted a four-day exemption from appearing in court. The former premier and his daughter are in London to tend to Nawaz’s wife Begum Kulsoom who is in a critical condition there.



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