SC summons chairman NAB, FBR as Panama case proceedings enter in decisive spell

08:38 AM | 16 Feb, 2017
SC summons chairman NAB, FBR as Panama case proceedings enter in decisive spell
ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan has summoned chairman NAB and FBR to appear before the larger bench regarding a probe into Panama papers while adjourning the hearing till Tuesday.

National Accountability Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry and Federal Board of Revenue chairman Dr. Mohammad Irshad have been advised to appear in personal capacity before the apex court with relevant record on Tuesday.

Counsel for the premier's children, Salman Akram Raja concluded his arguments regarding the ownership of London flats and offshore firms.

Salman kicked off his arguments by stating that the details regarding payments to Minerva services have also been submitted to apex court adding that Faisal Tiwana used to deal with Minerva firm on behalf of Hussain Nawaz as his representative.

He argued that all the documents have been retrieved last night from London and the response has been submitted jointly although he would apprise the court of the exact date of submission shortly.

Justice Azmat remarked that the actual question was as to who was the director of Neilson and Nescoll companies. He told Salman that the documents which he was presenting were related to offshore firms adding that the precious time of court was being wasted.

Justice Azmat Saeed insisted that it needed to be proved through documentary evidence that Hussain Nawaz was actually operating those firms.

Salman argued that Maryam Nawaz remained shareholder as trustee from February 2006 to July 2006 and then registered shares were issued in Minerva's name. He went on and maintained that Minerva Financial Services appointed its own directors for Neilson and Nescoll.

Counsel for Hussain and Hassan Nawaz argued that Maryam's position as shareholder finished as the barrier certificates were cancelled.

Justice Aijaz Afzal inquired about the source of income of Hussain Nawaz for purchasing the expensive London flats to which Salamn Akram replied that Qatari investment helped Hussain establish his business and purchase said flats.

Counsel for premier's scions argued that Maryam Nawaz could not be declared owner of London flats even if Maryam Nawaz is proved to be a dependent on Nawaz Sharif.

Justice Azmat Saeed expressed that the bench would be at fault by ignoring the speeches made by Sharif family members.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa inquired whether it was a strategic move by Sharif family not to present the documents. To this Salman replied that he did not opt any such strategy.

Meanwhile, talking to newsmen outside the Supreme Court, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan said that Sharif family was trying to sabotage the hearing.

'Their entire argument revolves around two things; the bench is qualified and the case is inadmissible' he said.

Imran hoped that the verdict would be given in next few days.

During the last hearing, Salam expressed that the Sharif family underwent trauma in 1999 after the martial law by Pervez Musharraf.

He went on and maintained that presenting record of last 45 years was impossible adding that he would answer questions on the basis of the available record which suggests that the premier did not commit any wrongdoing.

Justice Aijaz Afzal questioned how the children of Nawaz Sharif purchased London flats. Salman replied that Hussain Nawaz purchased London flats through the business of his grandfather Mian Sharif.

‘According to NAB’s law, the onus of proof rests with the plaintiff and not the premier’ said Salman Akram Raja.

He expressed that the apex court could constitute a judicial commission because the court investigated NICL and Hajj corruption scam as well.

Salman went on and argued that Minerva financial services received barrier certificates in 2006. He reaffirmed that Al-Thani family purchased the flats between 1993-96 and Sharif family was not the owner of said flats even in 1999.

Justice Azmat Saeed who recently recovered after cardiac issues inquired ‘When would you present record? Raja Sahib!’

Salman categorically rejected the Rehman Malik report regarding the alleged money laundering by Sharif family.

Justice Aijaz Afzal inquired as to who would provide the documents as the scenario was becoming complicated. He went on and remarked that the larger bench could not wind up the matter as the plaintiff as well as respondent failed to submit any documents.

Justice Aijaz also inquired as to who instructed Arina firm to get in touch with Minerva. To this, Salman replied that Hussain Nawaz might have passed on the instruction. Justice Aijaz inquired as to who and when the documents regarding mortgage were signed.

Justice Aijaz also remarked that new hypothetical assumptions were being put forth with each passing day possibly due to barrage of questions by the larger bench.

‘No one is presenting the whole truth’ remarked justice Aijaz Afzal.

Salman Akram claimed that Minerva Financial Services detached itself from the documents that date back to 2005. He maintained that he was neither an accused, nor a witness.

Justice Asif Khosa in his remarks said that Hussain Nawaz claimed to submit money against mortgage till date.

Counsel for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Naeem Bukhari and counsel for Jamaat-e-Islami Taufeeq Asad have already completed their arguments before the apex court.

On the other hand, PM’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan also winded up his arguments arguing that the premier could not be disqualified on the basis of speech he had made on the floor of the house.