Pakistan Supreme Court orders action against top official in Panama Papers case

JIT head FIA Additional Director Wajid Zia

JIT head FIA Additional Director Wajid Zia

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the offshore assets of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family in connection with the Panamagate case, will submit its fourth and final report to the Supreme Court on Monday. "We will unveil the contradictions of this report in front of the Supreme Court", he said. They faced accountability many times, including during the Pervez Musharraf era, but nothing could be proved against them, he added.

The federal government on Monday rubbished the findings of a joint investigation team (JIT) which probed the offshore business dealings of the Sharif family. In the report submitted by JIT, it has been stated that Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan chairman Zafar Hijazi was involved in tampering records in order to favor Sharif's family.

The report added there was a "significant gap/disparity" between the declared sources of income and wealth accumulated by Sharif, his sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

The report said: "Failure on the part of all respondents to produce the required information confirming "known sources of income" is prima facie tantamount to not being able to justify assets and the means of income". "We hope the Supreme Court bench will send this report into the trash bin ... to where it rightfully belongs", he concluded.

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The JIT panel interrogated seven members of the Sharif family, including the Pakistan PM.

He rejected the invitation, saying he was not subject to Pakistani law, but invited investigators to visit him in the Qatari capital Doha to record a statement. From day one this was also the demand of PTI, the petitioner in Panama Papers case, that proceedings of the JIT be kept open. The assets in question are four apartments costing several million pounds in Park Lane, London, which according to Panama Papers were purchased through off shore companies Nielson and Nescol but hidden from tax authorities in Pakistan.

The case was heard after petitions were filed by opposition parties that even included cricketer-turned -politician Imran Khan's Tehrik-i-Insaf which wanted Sharif to be disqualified for not declaring money trail and the top court in the country had asked JIT to probe into the money trail.

The JIT report may not be as damaging for the ruling family as they are anticipating.

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