Pakistan

Panama JIT allegations: Govt institutions to submit replies in SC today

ISLAMABAD: The Attorney General for Pakistan is expected to submit the Supreme Court of the replies of the government institutions accused of tempering with records and hampering the probe of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) into money laundering allegations against the Sharif family.

A special bench of the apex court will take up the application filed by the JIT today to hear the response of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Intelligence Bureau, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Board of Revenue and the federal law ministry.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, a special bench constituted to supervise the investigation into the Panama Papers allegations, had reserved its verdict a day before on a petition of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz seeking probe into his leaked photo depicting him before a grilling session with the JIT.

Khawaja Haris, who represented Hussain, contended that the JIT’s sessions shouldn’t be filmed as it was an unconstitutional act. “If video recording of JIT proceedings was leaked, consequences would be far worse than those of photo leak,” he said.

He said the JIT had no control over the CCTV cameras installed at the Federal Judicial Academy. Who will be responsible if recording of the PM’s appearance before it made its way to social media, he asked.

What damage the photo leak depicting the applicant sitting on a chair had caused to him, observed a member of the bench stressing that JIT proceedings were being recorded to ensure transparency in the investigation process.

Khawaja further argued that what is the need for recording JIT proceedings when it cannot be used as evidence in court of law.

When asked, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf supported the contention of Hussain’s lawyer saying recording of JIT proceedings was not permitted by law.

After hearing arguments, the bench reserved its verdict on Hussain’s application seeking formation of a commission to investigate the leak of his photograph.

Earlier, the JIT in its inquiry report had rejected the allegations leveled against it in connection with the leaking of Hussain’s photo. However, it assured that punitive action would be taken against any individual suspected of involvement in the incident.

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