Pakistan

Supreme Court orders JIT probe in Panamagate case

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has announced formation of the joint investigation team in the anxiously-awaited verdict of the Panama Papers case that will probe offshore properties of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa announced the verdict. The terms of references of the probe body will be devised by the apex court. The JIT will decide the matter in a stipulated period of 60 days.

It will comprise officials of National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), State Bank of Pakistan, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) and will be led by a director-general level FIA officer.

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Read full text of the Supreme Court verdict on Panama case

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According to the court orders, the names of members of the JIT must be announced within seven days, and a probe report must be released within 60 days. The JIT would report its progress to the court on a weekly basis. A bench of the apex court will examine the case under Section 184/3 of the Constitution.

Prime Minister and his sons – Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz – will appear before the investigation commission.

According to SC judgement: “At the commencement of regular hearing of these petitions it had been decided by this Court with concurrence of the learned counsel for all the parties that it might not be possible for this Court to take stock of the entire gamut of the business activities and personal lives of respondent No. 1 [PM Nawaz Sharif] and his family within the limited scope of these petitions and, therefore, these petitions would be decided by focusing mainly, but not exclusively, on the properties relevant to respondent No. 1 and his children [Maryam Nawaz, Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz] which were revealed through the Panama Papers.”

The final 540-page verdict is split 3-2 among the bench with two dissenting notes in the judgement by Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar. The two judges ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif, whereas the other three were in favour of constituting the JIT.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Ejaz Afzal in their remarks said the prime minister must be de-notified during the course of investigation, However three other judges had a different opinion. The SC bench also ordered to trace money trail with regard to ownership of London apartments.

The SC bench also rejected the Qatari Prince letter that was produced during hearing of the case.

Panama Papers and the Sharif family

The controversy erupted with the publication of the Panama Papers last year, 11.5 million secret documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca which documented the offshore dealings of many of the world’s rich and powerful.

Among the global elite implicated were three of Sharif’s four children — his daughter and presumptive political heir Maryam Nawaz, and his sons Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz.

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Must read: Panama Papers – How it all unfolded

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The ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz insists the wealth was acquired legally through family businesses in Pakistan and the Gulf.

The Supreme Court that took up the case for hearing in October last year, heard arguments from both the sides – opposition and government – and reserved its verdict in February 2017. The court hearings witnessed dramatic statements and happenings that kept the issue in the news since it came to light.

The court has taken such action before, however, holding Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in contempt in 2012 for refusing to re-open corruption investigations into then President Asif Ali Zardari, resulting in his disqualification.

PML-N claims victory

Prime minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz took to twitter immediately after the Supreme Court verdict, expressing joy over the apex court decision.

 

 

 ‘People are already congratulating me’ – Imran Khan

Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan, the main petitioner in the Panama Case, has reached Supreme Court some 20 minutes before the announcement of court judgement in the case.
Before entering Court’s Room no.1 (where the verdict will be announced by the respective judges), Imran said that it would be Pakistan’s victory not mine. People are already congratulating me, he added.

‘We expect burial of corruption with SC judgement’ – JI chief

Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Sirajul Haq says he expects the court verdict to wipe out corruption from the country once and for all.

He expresses surprise that Panama Papers scandals triggered resignation of several prime ministers of different countries, but Pakistan remain unfazed.

The JI chief said the SC verdict will ‘awake’ the nation. “Corruption and Pakistan can’t go in parrallel,’ he added.

Sheikh Rasheed sees no ‘clean chit’ to PM

Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed says he doesn’t see that Prime Minister is going to get ‘clean-chit’ in the Supreme Court judgement on Panama Papers.

He said the PM must bring back his wealth stashed in foreign banks to Pakistan.

PML-N claims overwhelming public support to PM

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz says the PM enjoys ample public support and hints government will remain unfazed whatever the verdict turns out to be.

#PanamaCase dominates social media

 

Security ‘high alert’ in Islamabad

Security has been beefed up in federal capital city of Islamabad the in wake of Panamagate verdict which is due to be announced by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday (today) at 2:00 pm.

Stringent security arrangements have been made under supervision of Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad Khalid Khattak ahead of the impending court verdict in a crucial case.

Red alert has been declared in the Red Zone of the capital city by prohibiting entry of common people while issuing special passes for the entry to the Supreme Court premises.

At least three safety checkpoints of Rangers and Police have been established around the apex court building for ensuring security.

 

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Supreme Court orders JIT probe in Panamagate case

by Web Desk