Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – A larger bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan adjourned hearing a slew of petitions seeking a probe into Panama papers till Monday while PTI kept convincing the bench regarding offshore companies.

Today’s hearing started with arguments of PTI’s counsel Naeem Bukhari who reiterated that the London flats were purchased during 1993-1996 and Nawaz Sharif was the owner of said property adding that a factory in Dubai was also set up through ‘Benami’. He alleged that Maryam Nawaz was the beneficial owner of London flats and he had no money for those flats.

PTI also submitted an interview of financial advisor of Sharif family, Haroon Pasha.

On the other hand, PM Nawaz daughter Maryam Nawaz filed details regarding her income for the last five years. In a statement before the court, she stated that the signatures on documents referring to Nescol company were fake adding Shamim Agri farms more often known as Raiwind farm house enclosed five houses.

Detailing the occupants of Shamim Agri farms she stated that her grandmother Shamim Akhter lived in one of those five houses while her father and mother lived in second house whereas her late uncle Abbas Sharif’s family lived in third house.

Maryam in a statement went on to claim that Shehbaz Sharif and his family lived in the fourth house whereas she herself resided in the fifth house.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who was heading the bench hearing the landmark case, cautioned that if Sharif lawyers were unable to establish ownership of Minerva Financial Services Limited, the court would have to consider Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) lawyers claim ‘true’.

Justice Aijaz Afzal categorically asked PTI’s counsel Naeem Bukhari whether he had any evidence endorsing that the trust deed inked in 2006 was fake whereas Justice Asif Khosa remarked that apparently, it looked the Sharif family bought London flats through family income. He also maintained that the onus of proof lay on the one in possession of something (property).

Justice Sheikh Azmat said that Hussain and Maryam Nawaz both signed the trust deed and they accepted the deed. He added that it would not be sufficient just to term the deed ‘Benami’ without any evidence.

Justice Asif Khosa remarked that both Hussain and Maryam accepted being the owner of offshore companies and so they should put forth the evidence.

Justice Aijaz remarked that SECP (Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan) keeps a record of registered companies.

The apex court adjourned the hearing till Monday.

Talking to newsmen outside Supreme Court, PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry said that the party had submitted all the necessary documents in court adding that the arguments in court emphasised on how Hassan Nawaz was able to set up a business worth billions.

On the other hand, Talal Chaudhry of Pakistan Muslim Leauge Nawaz expressed in a press talk that PTI had failed to prove Maryam Nawaz as PM’s dependent.

The counsel of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday submitted reply in the aftermath of any conflict of interest in overseeing family business and officiating official responsibilities by Nawaz Sharif during his service on key official positions.

The apex court observed that the 34 million dollars paid by Sharif family in Al-Taufeeq case needed to be probed further. It also noted that the details regarding Hassan Nawaz must be revealed as to when he started the business.

Supreme Court also told PTI’s counsel Naeem Bukhari to present evidence before the court instead of sweeping statements.

During the last hearing, PTI’s counsel Naeem Bukhari kicked off his arguments by expressing that the investments in Qatar apparently suggest that the Sharif family bought new properties adding that the Sharif family did not mention the transfer of money from Dubai. He said that the premier never mentioned any Qatari letter in his statements.

Justice Gulzar Ahmed observed that the Qatari letter did not suggest that the offshore companies were owned by Al-Thani family and so the letter appeared to be memoirs of an individual.

Justice Asif Khosa remarked that the premier and his son Hussain Nawaz said that they had complete record and it would be presented before the court although the Al-Thani family expressed having complete record in this regard. He stated that the court could summon any individual if he refuted his earlier statements or interview as he referred to the interview of Kulsoom Nawaz given in 2000.

Justice Azmat Saeed stated that the court would question and investigate both the concerned parties linked to Panama case for digging out the truth. He remarked that if the court resorts to punishment or execution of any individual merely on the basis of an interview, then PTI’s client could come under the hammer as well.