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Panamagate hearing resumes: PM Nawaz responds to SC's questions

Updated January 05, 2017

The hearing of the Panamagate case resumed on Thursday where the five member bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, was apprised about details of the offices held by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his political career.

Additionally, the petitioners attempted to submit interviews of the defendants to various news outlets as confessions was also questioned.

The observation came when senior counsel Naeem Bokhari, who represents PTI’s chief Imran Khan sought court’s permission to refer to a number of interviews of the prime minister, his spouse and children at different point of time to highlight that every one of them took a divergent stand about the ownership of the London properties.

However, Justice Shaikh Azmat Saeed asked the counsel twice not to muddy the water when the counsel reminded the court about precedents where it had taken newspaper reports into account before deciding a number of cases.

Bokhari cited an April 10, 2000, interview of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz by Rory McCarthy of The Guardian in which she conceded that London flats were bought because her son was studying.

At this, Justice Saeed again cautioned the counsel that he was entering into a dangerous territory, adding that if "we start hanging people on television interviews or news paper clippings then your client will not survive either."

The SC bench also proposed calling the PM's family members involved in the case to confront if they deny the stance they took earlier regarding four London Park Lane flats in their previous statements.

“I propose to display the interviews of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif children on the ownership of the London properties and we can ask the other party (defendants) to deny these,” Justice Khosa observed.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's counsel also submitted the premier's replies to questions posed by the Supreme Court (SC) a day earlier.

Makhdoom Ali Khan submitted details regarding various offices that Nawaz Sharif has held during his political career.

The newly engaged counsel for the prime minister apprised the court of the dates when Nawaz became PM twice, Punjab chief minister, as well as the provincial finance minister, and when he was out of the country during former president Pervez Musharraf’s government.

The court had asked for the dates in yesterday's hearing against the backdrop of his interview to a private television channel in which he stated that he had parted ways with the family business in 1997.

The question became relevant in view of the allegations of a conflict of interest, especially when there was no money trail in the shape of banking transactions to establish how sale proceeds of the Gulf Steel Mills in the UAE got invested in Jeddah or Qatar, Justice Khosa observed earlier, wondering whether the then prime minister was using his official position for the transfer of the money.

Explaining further, Justice Khosa had observed that it was in 1999 that the family of the prime minister went to Saudi Arabia and it seemed that as sum of 12 million dirham — proceeds from the sale of Gulf Steel — remained parked somewhere and was even available for investment in Jeddah after a gap of almost two decades.

The court also made it clear on Wednesday that it would not grant any adjournment on any pretext and continue hearing day to day from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM, till the conclusion of the case.