Pakistan

Panamagate Case: SC orders to show property documents as PM’s children submit replies

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ISLAMABAD: Adjourning the hearing of the infamous ‘Panama Papers’ leaks case until November 15, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday ordered Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Hasan Nawaz to file documents related to their properties before then.

A five-member larger SC bench headed by Chief Justice Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali resumes the enquiry today after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s legal adviser Salman Aslam Butt submitted replies of his children.

Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan and Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rasheed also attended the hearing today.

Rejecting all the accusation and criticism by the opposition parties, Maryam Nawaz categorically denied holding any offshore company in her reply. According to lawyer Salman Aslam Butt, Maryam Nawaz was also not a dependent child of the prime minister.


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Last week, Maryam’s husband Captain Safdar had also rejected the notion that his wife held any offshore company in his reply and claimed she had been paying taxes regularly.

Similarly, Hussain and Hasan Nawaz in their respective replies said they had been working and living overseas for several years within the laws. Both the sons of PM Nawaz also rejected the allegations of corruption made by the PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

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There seems to be a connection between Sharif family’s sources of income and properties, the SC bench maintained on Monday but told the government’s lawyer that it was important to ‘prove’ the money was sent abroad through legal means.

“Panamagate case is very simple, but the situation can take a different turn if the parties in the case failed to satisfy the court,” Justice Asif Saeed Khosa warned the government’s lawyer.

CJP Justice Jamali also informed PTI’s lawyer Hamid Khan to present all the evidences of corruption before the court in the case.

The court after an evaluation of the submitted replies ordered all the parties in the case to submit the relevant property documents at the court in the next hearing on November 15.

 

PM rejects opposition claims

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his reply during the case hearing had denied holding any offshore company or business outside Pakistan.

In his reply, the premier had urged that he was never involved in any tax avoidance and instead has always paid taxes to the governments as per the laws in Pakistan.


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Prime Minister’s lawyer had also maintained in the court that Nawaz Sharif could not be disqualified as per Article-62 and 63 of the constitution of Pakistan.

According to the prime minister’s reply, his children, Maryam, Hussain and Hasan were independent and were even not being supported by him through any means.

The apex court on November 1 had agreed to PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s request to set up a judicial commission to probe Panamagate scandal.

Khan then backed down on his threat to paralyse Islamabad by bringing in a million protesters, defusing tensions after days of clashes between his supporters and the police.

 

The Panamagate scandal  

Names of several Pakistanis including Nawaz Sharif’s children Maryam, Hussain, and Hasan surfaced in one of the world’s biggest ever data leaks through an online searchable database made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in April 2016, following which the prime minister had formed an inquiry commission to probe his family’s alleged links to offshore accounts.

Unfortunately, the federal government and the opposition could not agree on drafting joint ToRs.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also failed to probe the case.

The PTI later had said to hold a sit-in in Islamabad on November 2 which was later changed into a ‘celebratory’ rally.

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