Pakistan’s Supreme Court has resumed deliberations in a corruption case that could unseat Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, after investigators tasked with probing the allegations submitted their findings to judges on Monday the 10th of July.
On 10 July 2017, JIT submitted a 275-page report in the apex court. The report requested National Accountancy Bureau (NAB) to file a reference against Sharif, his daughter Maryam, and his sons under section 9 of National Accountability Ordinance. JIT noted that Sharif, his sons and daughter Mariyam Nawaz were not able to justify their income and assets, adding that Maryam Nawaz has been proved the beneficial owner of Nielsen and Nescoll.
The report further stated that Maryam was involved in falsifying evidence before the Supreme Court. The basis for this fact was the use of the font Calibri in documents showed to be from 2006, when the font itself wasn’t Officially released until January, 2007 But it is fact that Calibri font was publicly available in 2004.
Among other critical findings of the JIT are the discovery of an offshore company, FZE Capital, managed by Nawaz Sharif until 2014, and the complete lack of supporting documentary record in the United Arab Emirates relating to the sale of Gulf Steel Mill. The Mill is important to the case as it forms the basis of the ‘Qatari letter’ money trail
The court had adjourned Monday’s proceedings until July 17, when lawyers for both sides will be given a chance to present their arguments on the investigating team’s findings.
A three-member bench of the SC headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal is set to hear the Panamagate implementation case in the light of six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report on Monday.
From Monday onwards, the Supreme Court will set a course of action, hear objections to the JIT report and decide whether to disqualify the prime minister, order further investigations or initiate criminal proceedings.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members would experience Monday Blues as there will be Panamagate hearing in the Supreme Court.
According to sources, the Sharif family has not submitted any objections before the SC to the Panamagate JIT’s damning report on their murky financial history , it also said that “the family’s legal team is waiting for reports on the credibility of the forensic and financial experts engaged by the JIT, and hopes to come armed to the Monday hearing with that information”.
The chain of events suggests that for the third time, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif might not complete his term. In 1993, he was dismissed by the president over allegations of corruption, restored by the Supreme Court, only to step down after being persuaded by the army chief. Two years into his second stint as prime minister, he was ousted in the 1999 coup by another army chief, General Pervez Musharraf.
This time, he’s had four years as Prime Minister, but the third time is proving as unlucky. In corruption scandals, numbers are important. But when it comes to politics, it is the abstractions and machinations of history.
The Panama Papers case tells a fantastic tale that spans Lahore, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah and London; of a Qatari sheikh, the ill-timed use of a font to allegedly forge a trust deed, a grandfather’s will, a business partner and maternal uncle whom no one from the family has met, and an offshore company in the Prime Minister’s name presumably to facilitate visas to the UAE.
The Panama Papers case ,officially titled Imran Ahmed Khan v. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif or the Panamagate case is an ongoing case before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.The case was brought to court by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan alleging money laundering, corruption,and contradictory statements by Nawaz Sharif, the incumbent Prime Minister of Pakistan, after the Panama Papers leak uncovered links between Sharif’s family and eight offshore companies.
The leak of 11 million documents held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca featured the Prime Minister’s two sons and daughter ,Hussein, Hassan and Maryam ,who were listed as beneficiaries for three offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). There were 400 other Pakistanis who were mentioned in the Panama Papers.
PTI chairman Imran Khan filed a petition through counsel Naeem Bokhari with the Supreme Court on 29 August 2016, seeking Sharif’s disqualification as Prime Minister and as a Member of the National Assembly. The petition also moved against Sharif’s children, son-in-law Muhammad Safdar, and in-law and incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
The corruption allegations focus on Sharif’s previous two terms as prime minister in the 1990s, with opposition politician Imran Khan and others alleging that Sharif and his family illegally profited from his position.
The 2016 leak of 11.5 million documents from Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca, dubbed the Panama Papers ,showed that three of Sharif’s children were listed as beneficiaries for three offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.
The documents showed these companies were involved in a 2007 loan of $13.8m, made using high-value Sharif-owned properties in the United Kingdom as collateral, and a separate 2007 transaction amounting to $11.2m.
Now, the entire Pakistani opposition is vying for Nawaz’s head, who has refused to step down by saying that only the people had the mandate to remove him.
PM Sharif has contended that the “controversial” JIT had submitted a report “based on accusations and conjecture” that reflected “animosity and malice”. According to him, the report had not given “even a hint of any corruption or financial misappropriation”.
However, he also knows that finally the opinion of the Supreme Court, and not his, would matter.