Pakistan

Panama Case: Bench says no extra time for JIT probe

ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that formed to probe money trail and Sharif Family’s offshore wealth has submitted its first 15-day report on Monday to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, ARY News reported.

The fortnightly report was presented in two sections to the bench. However, the content of the report was not shared with media.

Three-member special bench – headed by Justice Ijaz Afzal – reviewed the progress made by the team on implementation of the orders issued by the apex court.

The initial phase of the JIT probe dealt with ascertaining all important records related to the case from the concerned departments.

Justice Ijaz Afzal directed Additional Director General (Immigration) of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Wajid Zia who is heading JIT,  to complete the probe within the prescribed time frame of 60 days. He also directed him to indicate hindrances, if any,  by concerned institutions in progress of the probe by notifying the special bench about obstacles and concerned authorities [in case of non-cooperation].

 “We will not allow extra time under any circumstances”, Justice Sheikh Azmat told the JIT head.

It was the third hearing by the special bench which was constituted to oversee the JIT’s operations and progress about the implementation of the court orders.

The next hearing in line with the Supreme Court’s order on the Panama Papers case will be held in two weeks.

Talking to media persons outside the top court, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry lamented that the party leadership could not get a copy of the report while underlining that the report should have been made public since the case is being contested on behalf of entire nation.

“It was not a personal case but against a Prime Minister of the country who has committed corruption by taking national wealth abroad”, Chaudhry said.

PTI chairman Imran Khan – the main petitioner – has reportedly attended the session in the top court pertaining to report sharing.

It should be recalled here that the five member bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, of the top court on April 20 announced formation of the joint investigation team in the verdict of the Panama Papers case to probe offshore properties of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Ejaz Afzal in their remarks said the prime minister must be de-notified in the split verdict of the case; three other judges had a different opinion.

The JIT is headed by Additional Director General (Immigration) of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Wajid Zia, while the other members of the JIT include State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)’s Amir Aziz, National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s Irfan Naeem Mangi, Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP)’s Bilal Rasool, Inter Services Intelligence (ISI)’s Brigadier Muhammed Noman Saeed and Military Intelligence (MI)’s Brigadier Kamran Khursheed.

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