Sharif chairs meeting of PML-N leaders after Pak SC reserves verdict in Panama case

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is chairing a high level meeting of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leaders at PM House following the reservation of Panamagate verdict by the country’s Supreme Court.

The high level meeting is being attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, federal ministers, legal advisers and law experts, reports the Geo News.

According to the report, the meeting is held to review the situation following developments in the Supreme Court.

Geo News quoted sources as saying that the legal team is briefing the Prime Minister on the Panama Papers case.

The apex court concluded the entire hearings and reserved the judgment in the Panamagate case in which Prime Minister Sharif and his family are accused of amassing offshore assets.

The date of the judgment is yet to be announced and if convicted, Sharif can face disqualification from politics.

The JIT, which was investigating allegations of money laundering against the Sharif family, submitted its report to the Supreme Court on July 10 and accused them of concealing the information from tax authorities that involves four apartments in Park Lane area of London.

The court also opened Volume X of the JIT report, marked as “confidential”. Volume X of the report, titled “Mutual Legal Assistance Requests – Ongoing”, is related to JIT’s international correspondence and the documents obtained from foreign countries during the investigation.

The Panamagate case is being heard by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

The Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had called the investigators’ request to withhold Volume X “mala fide”. The judges had also expressed an inclination to make Volume X public.

“The volume contains details of the JIT’s correspondence and will help clear a number of things,” Justice Azmat Saeed told Harris, adding that the chapter was being opened on the lawyer’s request, the Dawn reported.

Lawyer of Sharif’s children Salman Akram Raja sought to appease the judges’ objections to the documents that he had submitted a day earlier.

The bench had questioned the authenticity of the documents submitted by the lawyer on behalf of his clients, pointing out that the trust deed – executed between Maryam Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz in February 2006 was signed on Saturday in a country where it was not possible to seek official appointments on a holiday.

“Plenty of barristers and solicitors work on Saturdays and even Sundays in London,” the lawyer told the court.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan replied that, on the contrary, Hussain Nawaz had said that making such appointments on Saturdays was not possible.

The counsel reiterated before the bench that Maryam Nawaz, the Prime Minister’s daughter, was not the owner of the Avenfield flats in London.

“The [JIT’s] report shows that Maryam Nawaz is the beneficial owner of the flats,” noted Justice Ejaz Afzal.

This was the fifth consecutive hearing of the bench from July 17, when it began hearing responses of the petitioners and respondents on the JIT’s final probe report into the Sharif family’s businesses.

During the hearing, Raja also submitted a 17-page petition listing objections on the JIT report, pleading for dismissal of the report and its ‘evidence’.

Justice Ejaz observed that producing the Qatari prince before the JIT was Hussain’s responsibility as the sheikh was his star witness. (ANI)