ISLAMABAD – The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) mandated by Supreme Court to probe money trail of the Sharif family under Panama verdict, has summoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam on July 5 to record her statement.
The JIT also called again both sons of the prime minister for further interrogation. Hassan Nawaz will appear before the team on July 3, while Hussain Nawaz is due to appear on July 4.
It is important to mention that JIT has also summoned cousin of PM, Tariq Shafi, on July 2.
Supreme Court’s Deadline
On June 22, the team submitted its third and second-last fortnight inquiry report to the implementing bench.
While hearing the case, a three-member bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal and comprising Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan had directed the investigation team to file its final report by July 10 as the court did not want to give more time for investigation.
On June 24, PM’s son-in-law Captain Safdar appeared before the six-member JIT which interrogated him for five hours as the proceedings are heading towards completion.
Talking to newsmen after the appearance, Captain Safdar said he would not disclose what took place during his appearance before the JIT as the matter was pending in court.
“We stand for the protection of the 1973 constitution,” he affirmed.
PM Nawaz Summoning
The Joint Investigation Team that is in the final phase of completing its report summoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on June 15 for interrogation.
The premier appeared before the team and recorded his statement for over three hours. Talking to newsmen after the appearance, the premier claimed that his family faced accountability in the past as well.
He added that the present process of accountability has been extended to a period beyond his birth.
“I appeared before the investigation team as we are equally accountable to the institutions,” the PM said, adding that today was a milestone for the rule of law.
PM Nawaz Sharif said that soon after Panama Leaks, he had offered himself for accountability. He stressed, “The people of Pakistan need to understand that whatever is happening today has nothing to do with any corruption or embezzlement of the national exchequer, but it is the personal and private business of our family, that is being dragged.”. All conspiracies against him and his family would be foiled, he said.
He added that he held the office of prime minister thrice and remained chief minister of Punjab and passed several development projects in the country, but there are no charges of embezzlement in national kitty on him.
He warned that there will be “a JIT of 200 million people going to be held next year when they [people] will select those who have worked for the development of the country.”
Shehbaz Sharif’s Appearance
The Joint Investigation Team also summoned Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif on June 17 to dig out the truth regarding the landmark Panama case.
Talking to reporters after his first appearance before the six-member Joint Investigation Team tasked to probe the offshore assets of the ruling Sharif family, he expressed that the Sharif family faced accountability several times in the past as well.
Regarding his position whether he was summoned as accused or witness, the chief minister responded that he was asked to appear before the team as somebody “acquainted with the facts of the Panamagate.”
“Whatever questions the JIT asked, I answered them to the best of my knowledge,” he said and added that a new chapter of history had been written today after a chief minister of a province and a sitting prime minister appeared before an investigation committee in the country.
In a veiled reference, the chief minister hit out at former president Pervez Musharraf as well by saying “Everyone knows I have severe back pain, but I did not flee from the JIT’s summons, I did not go away to London, never to return, like other politicians.”
The legislator said that the Sharif family proved that they had respect for the law, unlike military rulers who usurp power on gunpoint.
“This is not the first time that the Sharif family has been put to trial, people should not forget the time when our family’s Ittefaq Foundries were taken from us by force,” he said during his media talk.
He expressed that the elected political leaders abided by the constitution and law, and this was also manifested by his appearance before the JIT.
Shehbaz Sharif referred to several corruption scams including NICL, Neelum Jehlum and Rental power plants and draw a comparison with the ‘transparent’ incumbent government.
Hassan & Hussain Nawaz’s Appearances
Prime Minister’s son Hassan and Hussain Nawaz were also summoned by the investigative team in late May.
Hussain, the elder son of the premier appeared before the team five times, while Hassan Nawaz arrived at the Federal Judicial Academy twice.
Hussain Nawaz also filed an application in the Supreme Court after his photo showing him in federal judicial academy was leaked online.
However, the application was rejected by the apex court endorsing the decision of JIT to record the sessions on camera.
The Supreme Court decided to begin investigating the Sharif family in November last year after the main political parties failed to agree on a committee to probe the April 2016 Panama Papers leaks, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan threatened mass protests and to ‘shut down Islamabad’ in protest on November 2.
On April 20, the five-member Supreme Court bench gave its verdict in the case with the judgment split 3-2 in favour of a further probe against the premier’s family wealth. The other two judges had ruled that sufficient evidence was available for the prime minister to be de-seated.
The JIT – formed on May 6 – was given 60 days to complete its probe into the Sharif family’s international financial dealings and submit its report to the Supreme Court’s special implementation bench overseeing its proceedings.
The JIT team is headed by Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia, and includes members from Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, SECP, State Bank of Pakistan and NAB.