ISLAMABAD: Hearing the Panama Papers implementation case has been adjourned for tomorrow. In today's hearing, the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan put special emphasis on tracing money trail of London flats, saying the investigations cannot progress without taking stock of all the relevant material.
01:20pm: Justice Ejaz Afzal said no JIT documents may come now, however, the other countries like Switzerland are not bound of 60-day deadline.
Justice Afzal said to Khawaja Haris, “We will hand over to you if any documents come from abroad,” adding the JIT has been told to give to the court if anything comes their way.
Justice Sheikh said another reference may be filed regarding assets in excess of the income.
Khawaja Haris said it is mandatory to get the documents acquired from the a private firm verified from the concerned government.
Justice Ejaz Afzal said the documents that are obtained without legal assistance hold no relevance and the modus operandi to bring such documents to Pakistan can be refused.
Khawaja Haris said all such documents are rejected under the law.
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said Saudi and British private firms made available these documents.
Khawaja Haris responded no documents are acceptable without proper verification and no reference can be filed on the basis of the JIT report.
He added the statement of the witness who provided the documents was not recorded; hence the JIT report cannot be called a complete probe report.
Sharif family’s counsel continued, “The JIT report is worth of being thrown out of the courtroom.”
Justice Ejaz Afzal responded, “No part of the report was denied. All the assets were acknowledged during the interrogations.”
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said, “PM, Maryam and Hassan Nawaz had claimed they will produce the documents. It was Sharif family that of its own accord said it will make available the evidences.”
He said Sharif family took up the responsibility to disclose the money trail and sources of income; however, they failed to do so till today.
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said the JIT served as a second chance to the Sharif family.
Justice Sheikh said it is to see as to who sealed agreement with Minerwa and no one presented the relevant documents to this date.
This is the very outset from the real problems originate, he added saying, “Not a single document proving that Hassan Nawaz is the owner of London flats was produced.”
Justice Sheikh added only a trust deed was presented in this regard and the trust deed does not matter without the ownership.
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said the Sharif family should have provided to the JIT, if they were not willing to submit them to the court.
He said the PM Nawaz refused to submit all the documents.
Khawaja Haris said the court cannot issue any order on the basis of contradictions in PM’s speeches, adding the court cannot review its own order.
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said to Sharif family’s counsel, “Someone else will bring the documents if you are unwilling to do so.”
Khawaja Haris raised a question as to why the documents were not shown to the PM.
Responding to this, the judge said PM Nawaz Sharif cannot disown his statement that he will produce the documents.
Khawaja Haris said the judicial orders did not contain this adding, “The JIT should have disclosed if the PM Nawaz’s assets were more than his income.”
Justice Ejaz Afzal remarked, “It was binding upon the PM to unearth the sources of London flats. At the time these flats were purchased, his children had no income.”
Justice Ejaz Afzal said Nawaz Sharif said in his speech that the entire record on his sources is available, adding, “The big question now is that either the court itself rules on the matter or it should be delegated to accountability court.
01:05am: Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said he does not know as to why the Volume-10 of the JIT report is sealed, adding the JIT report details on the timeline of legal assistance sought from the other countries.
There are no evidences contained in Volume-10, he added saying, “However, we will open it if you raise objections to it.”
Justice Ejaz Afzal said the investigation has come to a conclusion; now, the JIT has been set deadline to evacuate its office.
Khawaja Haris objected as to how the investigation can be termed as complete if some more documents have been filed now.
12:55pm: Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said the documents prove that party was given a donation worth Rs.100 million.
Khawaja Haris said the income from the Hill Metal has been mentioned in tax returns, adding Nawaz Sharif is neither the owner of Capital FZE Dubai company nor did he draw salary from it.
Khawaja Haris said it is Hassan Nawaz who owns Capital FZE Dubai company.
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked, “Who is Hassan Nawaz to PM Nawaz? Is PM not Hassan’s father and chairman of Capital FZE Dubai company?”
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan also asked, “Did Nawaz Sharif not acquire Iqamah (residence permit)?”
Justice Sheikh also chimed in that Iqamah was obtained on the basis of the documents that contained spelling mistakes.
He added, “We asked the things which were skipped by the JIT,” asking, “Does Nawaz Sharif have any account with the Saudi bank?”
Khawaja Haris said the Prime Minister has an account with Al Rajhi Bank, adding the PM Nawaz has put all his assets before the court.
12:50pm: Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said to Khawaja Haris, “You told the court as to how the money from Hill Metal came to Pakistan.”
Justice Ejaz Afzal said the PM denied using his income for political motives.
12:45pm: Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said it is said the family members discuss everything while at home; however, the members of Sharif family told the JIT that they know nothing about the ownership of London flats.
He observed Nawaz Sharif told the JIT that the flats belong to either Hassan or Hussain.
Justice Ejaz Afzal said, “PM Nawaz frequents London flats but does not know as to who these flats belong to.”
12:40pm: Khawaja Haris said the investigation carried out by the JIT was not transparent, adding the PM was asked about his stance on the documents.
Hence, the court cannot issue any order on such a report, he added and said the JIT mentioned the PM received back 27 million rupees from his party.
He said the PM was not asked this question, in the first place, adding, “According to the record, not Rs.100 million, Rs.145 million was given to the party. Of this, Rs.45 million was loan and Rs.100 million was donation.”
Khawaja Haris said the court may take stock of all the documents whenever it wishes to, adding the PM was not asked any question regarding Capital FZE Dubai company.
12:35pm: Khawaja Haris said he will not talk on issue relating the PM’s salary.
He said the PM asserted his sources of income have been mentioned in tax returns, adding, “The PM challenged (his opponents) to bring to the fore his other assets if there are any.”
12:30pm: Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said the PM did not present the clear-cut answer regarding his own documents.
Khawaja Haris queried if the PM has become a criminal by doing so.
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said the PM’s children have a concerted opinion that they know nothing, adding, “PM and his children said they will not confess anything.”
His children said the JIT should itself scour through the documents what it wanted to locate, the SC judge said adding, “Even the PM distanced himself from his uncle.”
Khawaja Haris said his uncle died 40 years ago and he left the PM’s business in 1995.
12:25pm: Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Haris said the JIT did not seek explanation of any document.
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said Prime Minister told the JIT in clear words that he did not know anything, when asked.
Khawaja Haris said anything about the Gulf Steel Mills was only heard from the elderly of the Sharif family.
12:20pm: Khawaja Haris wondered, “What on earth has the JIT done?”
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said Hassan, Hussain Nawaz and Maryam were summoned before the JIT and everyone including Nawaz Sharif said that they knew nothing.
He said the JIT was told, “Our accountant may know it. However, the documents were not produced despite so many opportunities were offered.”
Even, the documents regarding the money trail were not presented, he added.
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said it was earlier said on the part of Sharif family that record existed regarding Gulf Steel Mills and Jeddah Steel Mills; however, they told the court that no such record is available.
He said, “Nawaz Sharif was asked if the record was handed to the speaker,” adding however, PM Nawaz replied he could not remember correctly about it.
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said, “Prime Minister said he did not see the letters from Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani.”
Under the circumstances, what else the JIT would have done, asked Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan.
12:15pm: Justice Ejaz Afzal said the court rules on the matter that is put forward before it, not on any investigation report.
The matter that is put before the court is the real thing to go by, he added, “We will not pass any ruling basing on the JIT report.”
12:10pm: Khawaja Haris said none of the cases has anything to do with the 13 questions.
“We are not bound to act upon the recommendations put forward by the JIT,” Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said adding it is the court, not the JIT, that may rule Article 184 (3) of the constitution.
12:05pm: Khawaja Haris said the JIT performed outside the purview of its mandate, adding the court could have taken suo motu notice.
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan replied all the cases are interconnected.
Then, the court should demand the record and review separately each case.
12:00pm: Responding to Sharif family’s lawyer, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said the JIT did nothing wrong when it recommended.
Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said the JIT only recommended; it did not pass any decree.
Replying on the same reservation mentioned by Khawaja Haris Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said the court’s order will matter more than the JIT’s recommendation.
11:55am: The JIT did not sought explanation from any party regarding the documents.
Reassuring him, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said, “Okay. You may submit your explanation to us. However, you did not repudiate any document in your submissions.”
11:45am: Khawaja Haris said the court itself cannot go beyond its injunction.
Responding to his argument, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said, “We are not hearing a review petition.”
Khawaja Haris said the chance of defence is offered even when the assets exceed the income.
Replying the counsel’s assertion, Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan observed, “We are saying the same for a year now. We are waiting for the money trail and sources of income from the day one.”
11:40am: Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed quipped, “Does Chairman NAB not watch even television? Was he not aware of the fact that London flats were mentioned in Panama papers?”
11:35am: Khawaja Haris said all details regarding the businesses of Sharif family were summoned and Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was sought to give his opinion on these cases.
11:30am: Khawaja Haris repeated, “However, the JIT was not authorized to re-open the case regarding Hudaibiya Papers Mills.”
Replying to him, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said, “We heard you and took note of what you said.”
11:20am: Justice Ejaz Afzal said it will be the trial court’s decision to acknowledge the report or not; however, the court is not disposed to comment on any part of the report at this juncture.
11:15am: Responding to the counsel’s argument, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said the JIT recommended what it deemed fit to, adding, “However, it is up to the court to take up the recommendations or not.”
11:10am: Khawaja Haris said the earlier investigations had no bearing on the 13 questions.
Responding, Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said the heart of the matter is to trace the money trail.
Khawaja Haris replied, “JIT was not empowered to recommend re-opening the cases.”
11:05am: Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan further said money trail is a secret to this day, adding the money trail of London flat has to be reviewed.
11:00am: Khawaja Haris said the dispensed cases cannot be re-opened.
However, Justice Aijaz-ul-Ahsan said all the cases were interlinked; hence, the investigations cannot make headway without reviewing all the relevant material.
10:55am: Justice Ejaz Afzal said the cases regarding London flats have already been a part to the earlier cases as well.
10:50am: Sharif family’s counsel said the case regarding Hudaibiya Papers Mills cannot be re-opened in the light of 13 questions.
10:40am: Justice Ejaz Afzal said a request had been filed for Hudaibiya Papers Mills.
10:40am: Sharif family’s counsel said the JIT investigated the cases which had already been dispensed with, despite the fact that the court did not order it to do so.
10:30am: Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed questioned, “Was the JIT not mandated to pinpoint further estates?”
10:20am: Case of different nature were pending before National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
The counsel said the JIT raised the number of questions from 13 to 15 as they made a question regarding assets in excess of the income.
10:10am: Khawaja Haris said the JIT was ordered to conduct inquiry and garner evidences adding the JIT was directed to take stock of the present matter available to them.
10:00am: Sharif family’s counsel Khawaja Haris said in its April 20 ruling, Supreme Court’s Panama case bench specified the direction of investigations, adding the court raised 13 questions for the investigations.
A three-member bench of the Court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, is hearing the case.
Sharif family submitted its objections to JIT report before the apex court on Monday.
Counsel for Sharif Family, Khawaja Haris, PTI counsel Naeem Bukhari and Jamaat-e-Islami lawyer Tausif Asif presented their arguments on the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the JIT report.
Awami Muslim League Chief Sheikh Rasheed himself presented his point of view before the apex court.
Published in Pakistan
Story first published: 18th July 2017