Not binding on SC to accept JIT's findings: Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan

18 July, 2017, 06:30 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • Pakistan       by Sarfraz Ali | Published

The top court took up the case in October a year ago 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 a daily basis. One of the Prime Minister's children, Maryam Nawaz, attempted to clear her name by submitting a document which says she doesn't actually own anything, and that she's just a trustee.

The JIT comprising civilian and military investigators was formed after the Supreme Court's April 20 order to probe the Prime Minister and his family's money trail. The party leaders and spokespersons were also briefed about the stance on Panama case.

While talking to media representative outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad, the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb demanded that the volume 10 of the JIT report should be made public.

A report past year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on leaked documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, showed Sharif's three children either owned or had signing rights to authorize transactions by offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands.

In a bid to distance itself from the political fracas, Pakistan's powerful military finally weighed in Sunday with spokesman Major Gen. Asif Ghafoor saying that "there is no conspiracy" against the democratically-elected government and that the Army, which has ruled Pakistan for three decades since independence in 1947, "is not directly involved in the court proceedings". Earlier, the Joint Investigation Team constituted to probe the Panama Papers case submitted its report before the bench last Monday.

He claimed that the PML-N had concrete evidence to prove untrue the JIT's assertions about the absence of scrap shipment records from Dubai to Jeddah; the allegation that Nawaz Sharif owned an offshore company, and that he had been drawing a salary from the same until 2014. This massive increase has been noted to have happened during the year 1992-93 when Sharif was the Prime Minister of the country.

However, the document raises eyebrows because it is dated February 2006 and typed in Calibri - a font that was not introduced until 2007. "The language used in the report reflects their malicious intention towards the Sharif family", she added.

Two judges of the court have already declared the Prime Minister as not being truthful.

Sharif had even suggested that the army had an upper hand in the JIT report. However, the family wants to retain him as Sharif's counsel. But Nawaz was candid when he spoke to the media after appearing before the JIT- the first elected leader in Pakistan to do so - that his family had been in business and industry for three generations and what the JIT was probing allegations of graft against the family not the misuse of government funds. But it ordered further investigations, and the formation of the JIT. "Army has no role in the process".

According to the Times of India, Government circles in New Delhi seem to agree as they brace for what might turn out to be possible post-Sharif scenarios.

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