Panama pleas: Sharif family submits another Qatari letter as SC adjourns hearing

08:51 AM | 26 Jan, 2017
Panama pleas: Sharif family submits another Qatari letter as SC adjourns hearing
ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court of Pakistan has adjourned hearing a slew of petitions seeking a probe into Panama Leaks till Friday.

Maryam Nawaz's counsel Shahid Hamid continued his arguments before the larger bench, refuting any link of offshore firms and London flats to Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

The Sharif family submitted another letter from Qatari prince in response to the questions posed after the first letter.

The second letter contains profile of Qatari prince Hammad Bin Jasim Al-Thani and states that Mian Shareef made an investment of Rs. 12 million in 1980 and the investments was in the form of cash.

The letter is accompanied by transaction details and auditor's reports regarding the Gulf Steel Mills in Dubai and the Azizia Steel Mills in Jeddah. It also suggests that the Sharif family set up Dubai steel mills after financial support from banks and Dubai government.

An amount of $8 million which was due to Mian Sharif, was settled 'by the way of delivery to a representative of PM Nawaz’s son Hussain Nawaz in 2006' said the reply submitted by Salman Akram Raja.

An affidavit by Tariq Shafi outlining how the AED 12 million were deposited with Mr. Fahad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani of Qatar on instructions of his uncle Mian Muhammad Sharif was also presented.

Meanwhile,  the counsel for Hassan and Hussain Nawaz submitted their replies before the Supreme Court to clarify position regarding London flats and ownership of offshore firms.

Hassan Nawaz in his reply claimed that he set up Flagship investment company in 2001.

On the other hand, Hussain claimed that he completed his education in the UK in 1996 and was involved in father’s business till October 1999 in Pakistan.

On the other hand, Shahid Hamid kicked off his arguments by expressing that there was no clear cut definition for 'dependence'. He maintained that elderly and unemployed people can be included in the definition of dependents.

He also submitted an interview of Maryam Nawaz before the larger bench and claimed that any married woman living with her parents would be considered in the domain of dependency.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan remarked that in 2011 tax returns Maryam Nawaz was clearly represented as a dependent.

Chairman PTI Imran Khan arrives at Supreme COurt
Chairman PTI Imran Khan arrives at Supreme Court

Shahid went on and asserted that any unmarried woman would be dependent if she had no source of income.

He reiterated that the issue of dependency could only be dealt case to case.

Justice Aijaz Afzal said that the NAB laws also failed to define dependency issue.

Justice Asif Khosa while pressing further regarding dependency observed that for a well-established business family, a single person is the strongest one.

He inquired whether the apex court could summon that particular strongest man regarding the Panama case.

Meanwhile the apex court asked Sharif family to present details regarding the exchange of gifts.

Counsel for prime minister Nawaz Sharif  Makhdoom Ali Khan reiterated that Nawaz Sharif was not owner of any London flat under discussion before the larger bench.

Resuming his arguments before the apex court, Maryam Nawaz's lawyer Advocate Shahid Hamid argued that he would submit tax returns regarding gifts given to the prime minister from his children.

The subject of discussion turned towards a car Maryam Nawaz was allegedly gifted by her brother Hassan.

"How was so much profit earned through the sale of the BMW?" Justice Ejaz Afzal asked.

Hamid told the court the BMW was bought by Hassan Nawaz in 2006 and gifted to Maryam Nawaz two years later.

"In 2011, Maryam Nawaz sold the BMW for Rs2 million," Hamid said.

Talking to newsmen during the break, PML-N's representative took aim at PTI chairman Imran Khan. Tariq Fazal Chuadhry said that Imran Khan was scared of Maryam Nawaz.

During the last hearing, Shahid Hamid, counsel for Maryam Nawaz Sharif argued before the larger bench regarding the ownership of offshore companies and London flats.

Shahid kicked off his arguments by expressing that the premier presented himself for accountability before the apex court and for disqualification of any legislator, a writ petition for co-warranto could be filed.

He claimed that a member of national Assembly could not be disqualified on the basis of not filing tax returns as FBR was the competent authority regarding Tax payment.

He reiterated that Maryam Nawaz was not owner of any property adding that Hussain Nawaz was the actual owner of London flats.

‘Capt. Safdar did not file tax return in 2011’ said justice Azmat Saeed.

Shahid Hamid expressed that Nawaz Sharif in his nomination papers categorically confirmed that he lived with her mother in her home.

Shahid Hamid maintained that there was no dispute among members of Sharif family regarding property settlement after the death of Mian Sharif.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court sought property settlement details after Mian Sharif’s death.

Shahid Hamid claimed that the document linking Maryam Nawaz to offshore firm bore a fake signature of prime minister’s daughter.

Giving remarks on Maryam Nawaz’s signatures, Justice Ejaz Afzal said that an expert can comment on this issue as judges are not science masters.

Justice Gulzar observed that apparently, there was a difference in the signatures.

‘Maryam Nawaz’s signature is also present on her personal information form issued by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)’ remarked justice Khosa.

Meanwhile, Justice Ejaz asked the complainant’s lawyer to prove from where the documents related to Maryam Nawaz were taken.

He further said that such documents cannot be accepted without verification.

The apex court also sought the transcript of Maryam Nawaz which she gave to a leading television channel.

Justice Asif Khosa remarked that the trust deed inked between members of Sharif family harked back to 2006 whereas justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked that Maryam admitted living with his father.

In his remarks Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan remarked that Maryam Nawaz is accused of being Nawaz Sharif’s frontman.

To this Maryam Nawaz’s counsel Shahid Hamid said that this allegation has to be proven by the petitioner.