Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan has adjourned hearing a slew of petitions seeking a probe into Panama papers till Monday.


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Although the apex court is hearing the landmark case on daily basis but the decision to adjourn the hearing came as justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh was hospitalised on Tuesday after chest pain.

The five-member larger bench would discuss the money trail regarding Sharif family investments and establishing factories in Dubai and Jeddah on Monday.

Salman Akram Raja, counsel for Hassan and Hussain Nawaz would continue his arguments to fend off allegations regarding premier’s role in purchasing London flats.

During the last hearing, Salman kicked off his arguments by expressing that Mian Shareef had absolute control over family business.

He claimed that Tariq Shafi did not manage the daily affairs of the Gulf Factory as he was just a witness to payment of Rs. 12 million AED to Al-Thani family for investment.

Justice Asif Khosa replied that the premier mentioned about setting up six new factories during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s stint.

Justice Gulzar while throwing weight behind justice Khosa remarked that when six factories were established in Pakistan, what was the need of Gulf factory then adding that the premier did not mention about Qatari investment.

‘When did Sharif family settle in London flats’ remarked justice Gulzar.

Counsel for Hassan, Hussain Nawaz claimed that the Sharif family did not purchase London flats between 1993 to 1996 adding that Sharif family was not the owner of offshore firms for the said period as well.

‘Sharif family purchased London flats in 2006’ said Salman Akram Raja.

Salman sought the larger bench to summon Tariq Shafi as witness as he knew complete details before signing the affidavit.

Justice Khosa inquired whether the machinery for Dubai factory was purchased by Hussain Nawaz.

To this, Salman replied that new machinery was installed in Jeddah factory and the equipment for setting it up was manufactured in Dubai mills. He added that Dubai mill was shut down in 2001.

Justice Khosa observed that the premier did not refer to purchase or selling machinery in any of his statements.

Justice Aijaz Ul Ahsan remarked that the core question was the source of money for London flats as Hussain Nawaz claimed that he owned London flats due to Qatari investment.

‘Premier’s statement and Tariq Shafi’s affidavit had no information regarding Qatari investment’ remarked justice Aijaz Ul Ahsan.

Counsel for PM’s scions continued his arguments claiming that the reply submitted on November 7 enclosed information regarding Rs. 12 million AED investments of Dubai factory adding that Qatari royal family was involved in the matter.

Justice Aijaz Afzal inquired whether Rs. 12 million AED were received in form of cash or through any bank adding that every deal inked by Sharif family was through banks but the Rs. 12 million AED were received in form of cash.

To this, Salman reaffirmed that receiving money in form of cash was not surprising.

However, justice Aijaz Afzal remarked that the available documents fail to support such stance.

Salman reiterated that the apex court should summon Tariq Shafi for such questions as he could satisfy the bench.

‘Rs. 12 million AED were paid to AL-Thani family in six successive instalments for investment’ said Salman Akram Raja.

He went on and said that it was not imaginable that the hefty amount was paid using camels adding that by harnessing currency notes of higher value, the stuffed money would be equal in volume to these two books (which he was holding).

To this, Salman replied that Tariq Shafi did not reveal information regarding the mode in his affidavit.

Resuming his arguments after the break, Salman expressed that the apex court could not punish due to article 184/3 of constitution as the plaintiff failed to provide any proof.

He referred to Rehman Malik’s report regarding money laundering and claimed that Nescoll and Neilson were registered in the name of Insparkle that in turn remained linked to Qatari bank.

‘London flats also belonged to Qatari family’ said Salman Akram Raja adding that Hussain and Hassan Nawaz lived in those flats from 1993 due to family terms with Qatari family.

To this, justice Asif Khosa posed question to Salman inquiring whether he believed Rehman Malik’s report to be true.

However, Salman replied that he did not believe in that report.

During today’s hearing, prosecutor general NAB submitted details regarding non-filing of appeal against Lahore high Court’s decision.

Justice  Gulzar Ahmed inquired about the number of cases for which the NAB did not file appeal.

Prosecutor General NAB replied that there were scores of such cases for which appeal was not filed before the supreme court.