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SC special bench hears JIT’s account on hurdles in probe

The special implementation bench of the Supreme Court directed the counsel of Hussain Nawaz to submit their response to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT)’s reply to their petition at the next hearing.

The special bench was hearing issues related to the working of the JIT in the Panama Papers case on Monday.

At the start of the hearing, the bench — headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and comprising justices Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Ijazul Ahsan — perused the reply of the JIT on Hussain’s petition.

The prime minister’s elder son recently petitioned the Supreme Court against the JIT after a picture of him during the interrogation was leaked in the media. He pleaded the court to bar the JIT from recording its proceedings.

During the hearing on Monday, Justice Ejaz stated the JIT has rejected most of the accusations levelled by the petitioner, adding that ‘who leaked the picture and what action was taken against those responsible’ is all in the report.

When the petitioner’s counsel objected to the recording of JIT proceedings, the bench observed that there is no bar on recording proceedings, adding that video recording is also carried out to produce transcripts.

Justice Ejaz observed that Khwaja Harris, Hussain’s counsel, should look at the JIT’s response if the attorney-general office has no objections.

To this, the additional attorney-general replied that the JIT has no issues if the report is shared with the petitioner’s counsel.

The bench then directed Harris to peruse the report and submit his response on Wednesday.

When taking up the issue of the hurdles faced by the JIT, the bench observed that if hurdles are created in the work of the JIT, they will not be able to complete their probe in time.

Why heads of state institutions write to the court after their interrogation, questioned the bench.

The bench also observed that some departments are accused of changing records after the JIT said some institutions are delaying providing relevant records.

Earlier, sources had said the JIT had completed its probe into the leaking of Hussain’s picture by conducting inquiries against personnel responsible for the JIT secretariat’s security as well as CCTV recording.

Moreover, at an earlier hearing, the bench had directed the head of the JIT, Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia, to submit in writing the hurdles being faced by them on Monday.

Several officials and members of the Sharif family, including National Bank of Pakistan President Saeed Ahmad and the premier’s relative Tariq Shafi, have accused the JIT of maltreatment.

The JIT — formed on May 6 in light of the Supreme Court’s April 20 judgment in the Panama case — has 60 days to complete its investigation into the prime minister’s family’s financial dealings abroad.

Meanwhile, the PM House, in a statement issued to the media on Sunday night, confirmed having received summons from the JIT and said the prime minister would appear before it on June 15.

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