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SC raised three questions from Sharif family

07 December, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: Hearing the Panama Papers case on Tuesday, the Supreme Court raised three important questions from the Sharif family regarding their offshore companies, Maryam Safdar's financial and legal status and lastly, about the accuracy of premier's past speeches on the issue.

A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali comprising Justice Asif Khosa, Justice Amir Hani Muslim, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard the case.

During the hearing, the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) once again requested the court to form a commission. To which the CJ observed that the court would form a commission if found it necessary.

The chief justice remarked that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) have not done their job. "If these institutions do not want to work, why not close them," he observed.

Naeem Bukhari, the counsel for PTI Chairman Imran Khan argued that in the PM's first speech the date of sale of mill in Saudi Arabia is not mentioned. There is contradiction in his statement, he said, adding that the PM has evaded the tax.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan, member of the larger bench, inquired the PTI's counsel that it has not been mentioned in the declaration of assets that Maryam Safdar is his dependent. On which, the counsel said that he has proof that she is her father's dependent.

"As per declaration of assets submitted by PM that Maryam Nawaz was his dependent in 2011. Nawaz Sharif had gifted Rs 30 million and then Rs 50 million to Maryam Nawaz. Documents of Panama leaks have been downloaded," Bukhari added.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked that Bukhari's arguments show that Maryam is a dependent but it remains to be pinpointed whose dependent is she. To which Bukhari said that Maryam is a shareholder of Chaudhry Sugar Mill. On this the chief justice remarked that it may be that Maryam's source of income is Chaudhry Sugar Mill.

Continuing with his argument the PTI's lawyer told the court that Maryam Nawaz has said that she has not paid any utility bills over which Justice Shaikh Azmat remarked that paying the bills is the work of the men of the house. Does this prove that Maryam Nawaz is dependent on her father, he asked.

Bukhari said that Maryam's assets increased in 2011 and 2012 over which chief justice asked how the value of an already used BMW car increased by Rs 19.6 million?

Bukhari said that Hussain Nawaz has said that London flats were purchased in lieu of investment in Qatar and this shows a contradiction between the statements of the father and the son. There was no money to be sent from Dubai to Qatar, he added.

Awami Muslim League Chairman Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said in his arguments that his case is short and smart, adding, "We have also approached the ToRs committee, Election Commission and other forums but all attempts were failed." He said, "I will never go in the details of property owned by PM in Dubai and Jeddah."

"Maryam Nawaz signed on 2nd day of the month but the trust deed was verified by Notry Public. Both the trust deeds were fake as these were not verified by Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

PM's counsel Salman Butt when argued, the CJ inquired, "What you have for the defence of your client?" Butt said he would respond to the allegations levelled on the PM in petitions, adding that petitioners did not provide him proof of their property. On this, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed, "It is your obligation to provide proof of property."

On the other hand, Hussain Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz and Maryam Safdar filed miscellaneous petitions in the SC in which it is adopted that the Panama case is a sensitive matter and the performance of state institutions is affecting badly. The petitioners have requested the court to hear the case daily. The court adjourned the hearing until Wednesday (today).

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