Pakistan

Panamagate Case: Attorney General argues in Supreme Court

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan is hearing the high profile Panamagate Case against the family members of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, ARY News reported on Wednesday.

A five-member bench of the apex court comprising of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Azmat Saeed, Justice Ijaz Afzal, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan, is hearing the case against the children of Nawaz Sharif.

Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali was presenting his arguments before the bench today. He said that he had taken a look at records and concluded that Sharifs had borrowed loan on foreign currency accounts.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that the court had been told earlier that investments had been made with the Qatari Prince and no foreign currency account had been mentioned. He advised the Attorney General to assist the court and avoid to become party in the case.

The Attorney General also argued that the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case should be kept aside from the Panama Papers case.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that if the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case was not based on facts, why he was trying to avoid it? He said the NAB had proven to be a dead oraganization yesterday.

The case hearing was subsequently adjourned till Thursday, when Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) counsel Naeem Bokhari will present his arguments.

In the previous hearing, Chairmen of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) appeared before the court.

Chairman FBR when the bench asked about the Panama Papers scam, informed the court that 343 people including members of Sharif family have been issued notices .

He said Maryam Nawaz in her response to the FBR has denied ownership of any offshore company or a property in overseas. She didn’t say anything about being a trustee in any company, the FBR chief said on a query of the bench.

The bench expressed its disappointment when Chairman NAB informed the court that the accountability watchdog only acts when a regulator approaches for it. “NAB’s position has remained that Panama Papers] does not come within its jurisdiction,” Justice Khosa observed. “Laws concerning the NAB give it the authority to undertake investigations,” Justice Khosa told the NAB chief.

The bench remarked that ” we knew about the regulators of power and gas. Now we have come to know about the regulator of NAB. “If NAB does not have the authority to investigate, who does?” Justice Ijazul Hassan asked.

When Justice Khosa inquired about NAB’s actions regarding bank accounts and monetary transactions, the chairman assured the court that investigations will be undertaken.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children submitted a fresh petition on the additional documents submitted by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan. They pleaded in the application that the additional dossier should not be made part of the case record.

The prime minister’s children have contended in their plea that the new documents have been submitted after completion of the arguments of their lawyers. They sought eight weeks from the court to submit their reply of the fresh dossier , if the new papers being included in the record.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in a remark yesterday said that the hearing of the case would most probably be completed by Thursday.

The Panamagate Scandal

The leaked papers, comprising 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, exposes how some of the world’s most powerful people have secreted their money offshore, and also implicated Sharif’s sons Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz.

Three of Sharif’s four children are named in the Panama Papers – daughter Maryam, who has been tipped to be his political successor and sons Hasan and Hussain – with the records showing they owned London real estate through offshore companies administered by Mossack Fonseca.

The Panama Papers have whipped up a storm of controversy over offshore wealth, ensnaring political leaders, sports figures and underworld members across the globe in the scandal.

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