- Justice Azmat says no corruption or misuse of authority levelled in JIT report
- Khawaja Haris says no documents available to prove connection between PM, London flats
Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan-heading three-member special implementation bench of the Supreme Court on Panama Papers case on Wednesday remarked that there is no proof that the prime minister owns any property by himself.
Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that no corruption or misuse of authority was leveled in the joint investigation team (JIT) report. Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that the Sharif family did not produce any document to establish Hussain Nawaz was the original owner of London flats but the JIT, on the other hand, found out that Maryam Nawaz was the real owner of those apartments.
Advocate Khawaja Haris, counsel for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said that the children of his client were independent in their business, assets and properties and the prime minister had nothing to do with their assets and businesses. Justice Ejaz Afzal remarked that the court would take a decision after looking at all the evidences.
Khawaja Haris said that his client had presented details of all his assets to the joint investigation team (JIT). He said that the prime minister had also provided details of all assets and sources of income in the form of tax returns. According to the laws of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), an individual cannot be held accountable for the properties and assets that are in the name of his wife and children, he said.
Justice Ejaz Afzal questioned why the prime minister claimed on the floor of the parliament that all relevant documents were available to show the source of funds used to obtain the offshore properties. Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that the judges could not shut their eyes to the fact that no document was submitted by the Sharif family to substantiate the source of funds used to establish Hill Metal.
“Though source of fund has not been provided by the prime minister, he received 86 per cent profit from the same business,” he observed. Khawaja Haris said that his client can only be held accountable for the properties under his name, maintaining that the prime minister has no connection to the London flats.
Upon this, Justice Ejaz Afzal asked were there any records available with Hassan and Hussain Nawaz that can prove that the prime minister does not have any connection with the London flats? Haris said that the connection between the prime minister and the London flats was based on speculation. “There are no documents available to prove this,” he added.
“Have you also brought a Qatari letter with you,” Justice Azmat Saeed asked Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s lawyer Tariq Hasan as he began his arguments before the bench. The counsel said that the JIT had attempted to drag his client into the matter. He said that the JIT had exceeded its mandate. Upon this, Justice Azmat Saeed asked the lawyer to approach trial court if he had a lot of objections.
Tariq Hassan said that the confessional statement in Hudaibia Papers Mills was extracted under duress, which had no legal sanctity. The matter had been closed transaction of the past and could not be reopened, he added. Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that he can tell him about Ishaq Dar’s connection to this case.
The name of the finance minister’s nephew was included in the transactions relating to the Gulf Steel Mills, the judge elaborated. He said that money from the Hill Metal Establishment was transferred to the minister’s son, Ali Dar. Hassan said that the JIT did not have the mandate to recommend reopening of the cases.
Salman Akram Raja, counsel for Hussain and Hassan Nawaz, said that he wanted to submit records regarding the concerned companies and pleaded the court for grant of time, saying that record had been sought from Dubai. Later the court adjourned further hearing of the case till Thursday (today).
-Inputs from APP include in this report