Pakistan

Ishaq Dar appears before Panamagate JIT for first time

ISLAMABAD: After a brief questioning session with Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT), Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s name is nowhere in the Panama Papers, ARY News reported.

Talking to media outside the Federal Judicial Academy, Dar said that baseless cases were filed against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif under a conspiracy to slow down the development pace in the country.

He decried the dual standard of justice and said that the top court had provided a questionnaire to the JIT formed to probe corruption allegations on former chief justice Chaudhry Iftikhar’s son Arsalan Iftikhar. “The law should be same for every citizen but it apparently looks the law is different if it comes to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” he added.

He further said that few references were filled against the premier during General Pervez Musharaf’s regime with a malicious intention. “Several cases against us were filed in past but no corruption reference was ever proved. The recent matter is also transparent and I don’t feel a need to explain it further,” he said.

He also denied media reports suggesting that he was summoned twice by the JIT. “I was only called to turn up once,” Dar added.

Dar also said that the top court has dismissed several cases in past while referring the case filed against former Chief Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar.

Earlier today, he arrived at the judicial academy along with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who was driving his car.

The finance minister was seen carrying documents before leaving for the questioning session. However, he did not speak to media .

The finance minister had been asked to bring all the relevant tax returns from 2003 to 2006 as these records were not available with Federal Board of Revenue.

Dar had given a confessional statement before a court in Hudaibya Paper Mills case in year 2000 that Sharifs used the paper mill to whiten the black money, however, he later said he had given the statement under duress.

The premier’s elder son Hussain Nawaz and daughter Mariam Safdar are scheduled to appear before the JIT on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. It would be Hussain’s sixth and Mariam’s first appearance before the JIT.

Earlier on Sunday, the Panama Papers JIT had questioned PM’s cousin Tariq Shafi for three hours for the second time. Speaking to journalists after his appearance he said the JIT questioned him about Gulf Steel Mills but he did not submit any document.

The JIT is winding up the probe as it is required to submit its final report before the Supreme Court by the deadline of July 10. It has been given 60 days to probe the Sharif family’s properties and the money trail behind it as part of the verdict announced in the Panama Papers case. The Supreme Court reviews progress of the investigation after every fortnight.

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