PM Nawaz ready to appear before JIT

  • Six-member investigation team issues summons to country’s chief executive to appear on Thursday
  • Legal experts, lawyers’ team brief PM Nawaz during consultation meeting at Jati Umra in Lahore
  • Marriyum says PM Nawaz to present financial records of last three generations of Sharif family

The joint investigation team (JIT), constituted by the Supreme Court to investigate businesses and financial dealings of the Sharif family, has issued summons to Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to appear before the six-member team on Thursday (June 15, 2017).

On Sunday, some government officials on anonymity conformed to the media that the summons was issued to the prime minister on Saturday after he returned from Kazakhstan after attending the much-awaited Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

In a statement issued to the media, the Prime Minister’s House also confirmed having received summons from the JIT, headed by Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia. It said the prime minister would appear before JIT on June 15.


Sources said that only Military Secretary Brigadier Muhammad Akmal would be allowed to go along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inside the Federal Judicial Academy (FJA), but he will have to wait in the waiting room as the prime minister alone will record his statement before the investigators.

In the summons, the prime minister has been asked to come to the Federal Judicial Academy – temporary headquarters of the JIT – at 11:00am on Thursday, along with relative documents, according to the letter forwarded to the PM House.

On Sunday, the prime minister presided a key consultation meeting over JIT proceedings at Jati Umrah where he was briefed by his team of lawyers and legal experts. The legal experts apprised the prime minister of appearances of his sons – Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz – and petitions filed by Saeed Ahmed.

After consulting with his aides, the prime minister has decided to appear before the JIT on Thursday. Prime Minister Nawaz has already assured of his full cooperation pertaining to the Panama case, so that the matter ongoing for one-and-a-half year could reach a conclusion.

In a statement, State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the prime minister has been presenting financial records of the last three generations and he would appear before the investigation team on Thursday.

The JIT probing the global financial dealings of the prime minister’s family has recently been mired in controversy, with subjects of the investigation accusing it of being biased and indulging in character assassination. Recently, the investigation team too informed the special bench of the Supreme Court of ‘hurdles’ being faced by them.

The apex court has reiterated repeatedly that the high-profile probe team will not be given more than the 60-day time frame given to it to wrap up the investigation in light of the April 20 Supreme Court judgment in the Panama case. Hussain, a businessman by profession, has appeared five times before the JIT, while Hassan, also a businessman, has appeared twice.

On Monday, the Supreme Court bench – headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and comprising Justices Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Ijazul Ahsan – will also hear the reply of the JIT on a petition submitted by Hussain Nawaz, as well as the JIT’s application on its own ‘hurdles’ in the high-profile probe.

Recently, Hussain petitioned the Supreme Court against the JIT after his picture during the questioning was leaked in the media. He pleaded the court to bar the JIT from recording its proceedings. At an earlier hearing, the bench had directed the JIT head to submit in writing the hurdles being faced by his team.

The top court had ordered formation of the JIT in its April 20 verdict which was reserved in February after a nearly four-month long trial of the prime minister’s family on petitions of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami and the Awami Muslim League (AML) among others seeking accountability of the chief executive of the country.

The JIT has filed two preliminary reports in the apex court since then and according to the order, the team is required to file its findings within a period of two months. Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said if Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto could appear before courts why the PML-N was upset over appearance of premier’s sons before the joint investigation team (JIT) on Panama Papers.

In a press statement, PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the summoning of the prime minister before the JIT was a positive sign. “The prime minister has a ‘central role’ in the Panama case,” he claimed. “The JIT is going to ask important questions from the prime minister,” he said.

“I hope that this time nothing similar to what the PML-N did with the Supreme Court in the past will happen again,” he said while expressing ‘concern’ regarding the hearing. “We expect that the PML-N will not resort to any ‘extreme tactics’ during the JIT hearing,” he said, adding that no one should think of making provocations.

“If you are truthful then present yourself in earnest to the JIT,” the PPP leader said. Expressing his dismay at the recent spike in outbursts against the investigators, he said that people should refrain from subjecting the team to abuses. “Some individuals are humiliating institutions; they should refrain from using such language,” he added.