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PTI lawyer presents arguments in SC on Panama JIT report

ISLAMABAD -UNS– Presenting the arguments in Supreme Court (SC) over Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawyer Naeem Bokhari said that the team had found contradiction in the statements of Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz and his cousin Tariq Shafi regarding Gulf Steel Mills issue.

Three-member bench of SC comprising Justice Ijaz Afzal, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Hassan resumed hearing of the final phase of Panamagate case during which Bokhari said that JIT was tasked to search answers of thirteen questions among which five were only related to Gulf Steel Mills.

The investigation committee had termed Tariq Shafi’s statement as fake, he continued.

PTI lawyer argued that the team had also declared giving 12 million dirham to the Qatari family as story whereas it also found the agreement of selling Gulf Steel Mills’ shares as self-made.

Justice Azmat asked Bokhari about the source of Free Zone Establishment company’s (FZE) documents over which he said that they were received by legal assistance. He said the company had also issued Nawaz Sharif’s iqama.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Hassan said that the duration of PM’s iqama expired in 2015 over which Naeem Bokhari said that Hassan claimed the company was demolished in 2014.

Meanwhile, the bench expressed resentment over ruckus in the court from the lawyers.

On the other hand, PM has also submitted reservations over JIT report in SC while Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar has also challenged it, saying they have been directed to file their reservations in court’s registrar office.

Reportedly, Red Zone in the federal capital has been sealed as entry of people with no relevance to the case has been prohibited.

On April 20, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had announced Panama Leaks case decision comprising 540 pages, saying that the court issued a split ruling calling for a JIT. Two of the five judges went further, branding Sharif “dishonest” and saying he should be disqualified, but they were outnumbered.

The court formed six-member inquiry team that included Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia, Military Intelligence’s Brig Kamran Khurshid, National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, State Bank of Pakistan’s Amer Aziz, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s (SECP) Executive Director Bilal Rasool and Inter-Services Intelligence’s Brig Muhammad Nauman Saeed.

The JIT members during the seven-week period interrogated eight members of Sharif family including Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif, his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif, sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, daughter Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law Captain Safdar, cousin Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and brother-in-law Ishaq Dar and submitted its report on July 10.

Panama Papers had published a leak of documents belonging to Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in April 2016 creating uproar in Pakistan among other countries. The leak was studied by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and stated names of incumbent as well as former leaders of the world who owned shell companies.

Opposition parties in Pakistan saw offshore companies owned by daughter and two sons of PM Nawaz as means to either stash wealth in foreign accounts or purchase assets abroad.

The top court took up the case in October last year on petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Awami Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami and reserved the verdict in February after conducting hearings on daily basis.

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