Nawaz Panama Case: Pakistan SC For JIT Probe Into Family Money Trail

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Islamabad: In a temporary relief for Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his three children, the five-judge Supreme Court bench, constituted to pass judgment in the Panama Papers case, split their verdict 3-2. Only two judges submitted dissenting notes against Sharif, while three others were in favour of a JIT probe. The top court ordered to set up a Joint Investigation Team with in a week to probe the allegations against the Sharif family and submit a detailed report within sixty days. It also ordered Sharif’s two sons — Hasan and Hussain — to appear before the JIT. The five-judge bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan issued the landmark judgement 57 days after concluding the hearing.

Addressing reporters outside the court, Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said: “They have said what the PM already said in his letter ? that a commission should be constituted to investigate the matter.”

“We are ready for all kinds of investigation,” Asif said. “It has been established today that any evidence or sacrifices given by our opponents in the SC were not enough. We have succeeded.”

Praise & glory be to Allah alone. Shukrana & mubariks pic.twitter.com/yM92bIJJoc

— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) April 20, 2017

The court also ordered that it was important to probe how money was transferred to Qatar. The five bench also criticised the NAB Chairman who failed to carry out his duty. It said that he was unwilling to perform his duties. It also said DG Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) failed to probe white collar crimes. Sharif’s supporters hailed the decisions as a victory of
justice.

On January 4, legal proceedings were initiated against Sharif’s family members under a reconstituted five-judge Supreme Court bench. The case deals with Sharif’s children — Maryam, Hasan and Hussain Nawaz — amassing unaccounted wealth in eight offshore accounts set up in tax havens. The money from these accounts was allegedly used to purchase four prime properties in London. The issue first came to light when documents belonging to Mossack Fonseca, a law firm that helped high profile individuals set up shell companies, were leaked.

Ahead of the verdict, the country’s capital was put on “red alert”. Around 1,500 security personnel were deployed in and around Islamabad’s Red Zone, the Dawn reported. Security forces are keeping a strict vigil on all the entry and exit points at the zone.

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