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SC resumes hearing on JIT report in Panama case

ISLAMABAD -UNS : The Supreme Court has resumed its hearing on the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) findings today to hear arguments of the lawyer of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who has formally challenged corruption charges against him and his family in the court.

A three-judge apex court bench, comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Ijazul Hassan, is hearing the arguments of the premier’s lawyer who picked up his arguments from where he had left yesterday.

In his initial arguments, PM’s counsel Khawaja Harris contended that the report was based on bias and political motivation and pleaded with judges to throw out it.

He said, the JIT members exceeded their jurisdiction and accused it of blatantly violated the mandate conferred on its members to seek Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) by engaging private firms, particularly the one belonging to a relative of the JIT head Wajid Zia.

“All the evidence collected by the JIT could not be used against any of the defendants for the purpose of evidence,” he added. He also raised objections to the composition of the JIT, more specifically the role of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) representative retired brigadier Muhammad Nauman Saeed.

PTI LAWYER’S ARGUMENT

Earlier putting forward his arguments, PTI lead counsel Naeem Bukhari, highlighted inconsistencies and contradictions in the statements of the Sharifs about their assets.

He said that the Qatari letter was a concocted story and added that the JIT wrote four letters to Qatari prince to record his statement but he failed. The probing team rejected the Qatari royal’s letter and held that it was unnecessary to record his testimony, he added.

When asked about authenticity of the documents with regard to Jeddah Steel Mills, Al-Azizia Steel Mills, and Hill Metals Establishment, PTI lawyer said these documents were not verified though they were considered accurate by the investigators.

He pleaded with the judges to summon the premier to cross examine him in light of the findings of the probe. He also pleaded with them to disqualify him for he had failed to defend allegations against him and his family.

Justice Azmat inquired as to how documents showing PM Nawaz Sharif owning an offshore company, Capital FZE, were acquired. Whether these documents were valid and acquired through a legal process, he asked.

To which, Bukhari replied that these documents were acquired through a legal aid. PM’s son Hussain Nawaz stated the company was dissolved in 2014 and no other family member was associated with it, he said and added, however, the documents proved otherwise as Mr Sharif was found to be chairman of the company’s board.

Justice Azmat observed that the documents showed the prime minister had been receiving remunerations, but not monthly salary.

“According to the documents, the salary of the premier was ten thousand riyals and these documents bore his signature,” argued Bukhari.”

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