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PM not disqualified in Panama Leaks case; SC orders to form JIT

PM not disqualified in Panama Leaks case; SC orders to form JIT

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court’s larger bench Thursday announced the much-awaited verdict of Panamagate after a gap of 57 days as it was reserved for an extended period.

According to the judgement, the premier would not be disqualified and a JIT (Joint Investigation Team) would be formed to probe money trail of Sharif family. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with Hassan and Hussain Nawaz would appear before the JIT.

The JIT would report to the court after every two weeks and would complete the proceedings in 60 days. The JIT would be including representatives from Intra Services Intelligence, military Intelligence, Federal Investigation Agency, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and National Accountability Bureau.

The JIT would start its proceedings in next seven days and a Supreme Court bench would formulate the JIT. Justice Asif Saeed and justice Gulzar Ahmed also had a dissenting opinion regarding formation of a JIT.

“JIT would be headed by additional director of Federal Investigations Agency and the final decision of Supreme Court would be based on the report finalized by it,” stated the judgement.

Three of the judges agreed to the judgement passed out by apex court whereas two judges Justice Asif Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed had a dissenting opinion, who wanted premier to be de-notified.

Moreover, the apex court has also ordered to re-initiate inquiry into the Hudaibia paper mills case in which Finance Minister Ishaq Dar confessed to be involved in money laundering for Sharif family.

The investigations into the Hudaibia paper mills case would be winded up in 45 days as per the verdict that was announced in court room no.1.

The judgement comprising of 540 pages was majorly authored by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan. Page 193 of Panama verdict says neutrality and impartiality of the Chairman NAB has been found compromised in the matters of PM.

It also stated that the chairman NAB was unable to perform his duties which led to the formation of Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

The judges observed that an investigation was still needed to probe money trail regarding Qatari investment. The judgement was announced by a five-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ejaz ul Ahsan.

The issue of Panama Leaks came to light on April 4, 2016, as part of a massive leak of secret files from a Panamanian law firm that specialises in setting up offshore companies. A trove of 11.5 million digital records from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca last year revealed how world’s wealthy used offshore companies to stash assets.