Panamagate probe: PM’s son Hussain Nawaz appears before JIT
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain Nawaz on Sunday appeared before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), probing offshore properties of ruling Sharif family in line with Supreme Court’s Panamagate verdict.
Nawaz reached the National Judicial Academy to record his statement before the investigation body. Hussain Nawaz was questioned for nearly two hours and was given a questionnaire. He has been asked to reappear on May 30.
Briefly talking to media persons outside the judicial academy, Hussain Nawaz said that he had received a notice from JIT yesterday (Saturday) which asked him to appear within 24 hours.
“I will present my viewpoint along with my counsel Advocate Fazal Ghani,” he said while denying that he was given any questionnaire by the JIT.
Talking to ARY News, member of JIT Umer Cheema said that he could not share details pertaining to investigation with the media. However, he asserted that an undaunted investigation was underway until reservations raised by the ruling family of late.
“Unfortunately, we have a tradition of hurling allegations on regulatory authorities, intending to malign their credibility to disrupt progress”, he said while implying the recent reservations as an attempt to delay the investigation.
The JIT seeks to interrogate the premier’s son about tax returns of London flats and other offshore properties owned by the Sharif family.
Hussain Nawaz has previously expressed his reservations over two JIT’s members for being affiliated with political figures.
In a plea submitted to the apex court, he alleged that one of the two members of JIT committee is a close friend of former president General (retd) Pervez Musharaf and was very active during special court proceedings in treason case against Musharaf.
Hussain had also claimed that the other one is relative of former governor of Punjab Mian Azhar who is currently linked with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI).
The reservations were raised against Amer Aziz and Bilal Rasool, who respectively represent the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) in the six-member JIT.
The three-member special bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and comprising Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsen will hear the plea tomorrow (Monday).
Another member of the Sharif family, Tariq Shafi – the premier’s cousin – had also reportedly filed a complaint to the JIT head Wajid Zia against some of the JIT members, who allegedly misbehaved with him during interrogation.
Hussain Nawaz ready to be grilled?
The Supreme Court of Pakistan on April 20 this year 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.
The JIT comprises 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.
SC verdict after marathon Panama case hearings:
According to final SC judgement after wrapping up hearings of the Panama Papers case: “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.