Saturday, 27 May 2017

Panama Papers verdict: SC establishes JIT to probe evidence

NAWAZ

LONDON: Supreme Court of Pakistan has issued orders to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the Panama Papers evidence, and asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and sons Hassan and Hussain to appear before it. The five-judge bench, featuring Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, considered the evidence presented by opposition parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Watan Party and the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML). In the 540-page verdict, the five-member bench, that was divided 3-2 over the decision, said that the NAB Chairman has failed to cooperate with the investigation, and the FIA has failed to curb white collar crimes, necessitating the formulation of the JIT.

The Supreme Court has asked the JIT to investigate the money trail issued by the Prime Minister. The team would include officials from the NAB, FIA, ISI, MI and the State Bank of Pakistan. Justice Khosa announced the final verdict, which was written by Justice Ejaz, at SC’s Courtroom 1. Two judges in the five-member bench had decided in favour of disqualifying the Prime Minister. The case stems from documents leaked from the Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm appeared to show that Nawaz Sharif’s daughter and two sons owned offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and used them to buy properties in London. Premier Sharif has denied any wrongdoing, but the Supreme Court agreed to investigate his family’s offshore wealth late last year after opposition leader Imran Khan threatened street protests.

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