The three-member special Supreme Court bench resumed hearing of the Panama Papers case on Tuesday.
Addressing the special implementation bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Khawaja Harris, the Sharif family’s lawyer, read out the original 13 questions posed by the Supreme Court to the JIT.
He said the court, in its April 20 judgment, had not ordered for reopening of any case against Nawaz Sharif.
Harris claimed the JIT also included probe of ‘assets beyond means’ in its investigation and went on to answer 15 questions instead of the original 13.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that a number of issues are related to the court’s 13 questions. The justice remarked that the money trail of the London properties is a complicated saga.
The main issue is to probe the London money trail, he observed further.
The court will decide if the JIT’s recommendations have to be implemented, he remarked.
In similar comments, Justice Ejaz said the JIT just gave its recommendations whereas any order on the issue will be passed by the court.
“Don’t want to comment on any aspect of the JIT report at this time,” he remarked further.
He said the trial court will decide if including the Hudaibiya Papers Mills case in the JIT report was right or wrong.
Addressing the respondent, Justice Ijaz observed that you could have said anything in your defence but you did not. “Facts were hidden and answers not provided to the JIT,” he remarked. Someone would say they do not remember while others said their accountant may know, he added.
Justice Ijaz also observed that the premier and his sons’ approach was to not say anything to the JIT.
The prime minister and everyone else was given a chance to defend themselves, it is wrong to say otherwise, he remarked further.
Justice Azmat said the bench has heard and understood your arguments.
Harris said it was not the JIT’s mandate to give a verdict. Justice Azmat replied that if the JIT made recommendations after its investigation then what is so wrong with it. “The order of the court will be more important than the JIT’s recommendations,” he observed further.
Addressing Harris, Justice Azmat observed that the respondent has not disputed any document presented in the JIT report.
The premier’s counsel stated in court that the prime minister does not own any offshore company nor received a salary from any such company.
Are you saying this charge is false, asked Justice Azmat. Harris responded in the affirmative. “FZE Capital is owned by Hasan Nawaz,” claimed Harris.
The bench inquired if the prime minister is not Hasan’s father and chairman of FZE Capital.
Did he not get an aqama? Justice Ijaz further.
Harris claimed the JIT probe is not transparent. The prime minister was not asked to verify the documents and thus the court cannot issue an order based on the JIT report, he argued.
Justice Ijaz observed that on one hand it is said they [Sharif family] talk about everything at home yet no one knew who owns the London properties. “The premier kept visiting the flats but doesn’t know who owns them,” he remarked further.
Harris claimed several questions not posed to the prime minister were included in JIT report. “It should be probed why I wasn’t given chance to confront documents against the prime minister,” he said.
Justice Azmat replied that he may submit a separate application to the Supreme Court in this regard.
With regards to volume 10 of the JIT report, which was kept confidential at the request of the JIT, Justice Azmat remarked that the court can make the volume public if the counsel requests it.
Justice Ejaz observed that the JIT inquiry is not ongoing anymore while Justice Ijaz remarked that volume 10 does not contain evidence.
Before the start of the hearing, lawyer Salman Akram Raja, representing Nawaz Sharif’s children, said he will present his arguments in court tomorrow.
The court then went into a short recess.
Returning after the break, the prime minister’s counsel resuming his arguments.
Justice Ejaz observed that documents were provided to the JIT through Mutual Legal Assistance. Should we disregard them just on the basis that the government did not provide them the relevant record, he asked.