Pakistan

SC to hear response of govt institutions accused of hampering Panama probe today

ISLAMABAD: In what appears to be unusual, if not unprecedented development, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the allegations of money laundering against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children has accused the PML-N-led government of tempering with records and creating hurdles in its probe against the Sharif family.

A special bench of the Supreme Court will take up the application filed by the JIT today around 1:00 pm to hear the response of the Attorney General of Pakistan on behalf of  the Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Intelligence Bureau, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Board of Revenue and the federal law ministry for allegedly creating hurdles in the probe.

A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan – a special bench constituted to oversee the implementation of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers – would take up the matter.

During its previous hearing, the JIT had informed the judges that the PM House and government machinery were being used to influence the witnesses, create hurdles in its probe and withhold important record with regard to the money trail of the Sharif family’s foreign properties.

It alleged chairman SECP Zafarul Haq Hijazi played an instrumental role in closing the investigation of money laundering cases against the Chaudhry Sugar Mills Limited owned by the Sharif family in 2016. He was also accused of tempering with the record of the case.

In its application, the JIT alleged that the IB, which operates under the supervision of the federal government, hacked the social media account of one of the JIT members and obtained some confidential information from the Nadra on the behest of Hussain Nawaz. It told the judges that the intelligence bureau was involved in underhand activities to persecute the JIT members.

Whereas, in an attempt to harass a JIT member the NAB issued a show cause notice to NAB’s director general Baluchistan Irfan Naeem Mangi, who is part of the JIT, to submit explanation with regard to the relevance of his experience at the time of his appointment in the institution.

The JIT leader alleged that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) also concealed the record of the income and wealth tax of the Sharif family.

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