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Panamagate: No record for Sharifs' past business dealings, counsel tells Supreme Court

Updated Feb 15, 2017 05:22pm


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As the Supreme Court resumed hearing the Panamagate case on Wednesday, Advocate Salman Akram Raja picked up his arguments where he had left them off.

After welcoming Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed — whose sudden illness had forced a suspension in the case's daily hearings — Raja reminded the court that "this is neither a trial, nor the defendant a witness."

"I will only argue this case based on the evidence present," Raja, who represents Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, continued.

The record for the Sharif family's business dealings for the last 40 to 45 years cannot be reproduced, the counsel said, as "it was lost during the 1999 martial law."

The counsel also argued that the court cannot reach a just conclusion in the case without first conducting a judicial inquiry.

The matter can be sent to relevant departments for inquiry as the Arsalan Iftikhar case determined that trials for cases can be held at corresponding forums, Salman Akram Raja told the court.

"A court has never conducted an independent inquiry in any criminal case," Raja argued, adding that Article 10 of the Constitution says that every citizen of this country deserves a fair trial and that departments formed under the law should be allowed to do their job.

"There is no charge against the Prime Minister, so there is no charge against his children either," he continued.

"If we suppose that the PM's children are his employees, according to the National Accountability Bureau's laws, then the burden of proof does not fall on the defendants," Raja argued in court.

"This is not a criminal court, so even if Hassan and Hussain Nawaz are suspects, there is no proof against them," he added.

There were eight questions that the court posed to the defendants, including the relationship between Mian Mohammad Sharif and the Al Sani family, the shares in Nielsen and Nescoll, and the profits the family gained from them, the counsel recalled.

Lawyer Salman Akbar said that Sharif family has ties with more than one Qatari royal family but he cannot disclose the name of other royal families before the court due to certain reasons.

“There were questions about the trust deed as well, and in this hearing, I will answer all these questions,” he told the court.

Justice Khosa advised Raja that he should first finish his arguments before answering the court’s questions.

Moving on to the matter of the London flats, Hussain Nawaz’s counsel argued that the flats were bought by the Al Thani family between 1993 and 1996.

“The Sharif family did not own the flats in 1999, as Hussain Nawaz was given the bearer certificate to the flats by the Al Thani family,” Raja argued. He added that the shares for the flats were given to Minerva Financial Services in 2006.

Upon hearing this argument, Justice Azmat Saeed asked the counsel to provide a paper trail for these transactions, and said, “You have been moving from one point to the other since the beginning, but have failed to provide any evidence in this regard.”

The allegation is that Maryam Nawaz contacted Minerva Holdings, Raja retorted, upon this the bench asked that evidence should be proved that Hussain Nawaz is the beneficial owner of the offshore companies.

PTI's new evidence

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) had announced on Tuesday that it would submit three more documents to disprove the stance adopted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, but the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is not convinced.

“We are submitting three more documents — one from PTI chairman Imran Khan that authenticates all previous documents presented by the party, the expert opinion of UK-based lawyers and a document that proves that Maryam Nawaz is the owner of UK-based firms Minerva, Nielson and Nescoll,” PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told a press conference.

He said that Imran Khan would submit an affidavit stating that all documents previously submitted by the party were credible and authentic.

PML-N MNA Daniyal Aziz told Dawn that PTI’s lawyers had already completed their arguments and submitted all the evidence they had to the apex court. “Once they have completed their arguments, how can they file more documents?”

Earlier in the case

At the last hearing on Jan 31, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had cautioned Advocate Raja that he was taking a big gamble by withholding evidence behind the Sharifs’ acquisition of the four London flats.

The bench had postponed day-to-day proceedings after Justice Saeed had to be rushed to the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology following chest pains on Jan 31.

The next day, at the 19th consecutive hearing of the matter, Justice Khosa had announced that the next hearing would be held only after Justice Saeed sufficiently recovered.

Those who have already completed their arguments include Naeem Bokhari on behalf of Imran Khan, Makhdoom Ali Khan on behalf of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Shahid Hamid appearing for Maryam Nawaz, her husband retired Capt Mohammad Safdar and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, and Taufiq Asif, who represents Jammat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq.


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Comments (64) Closed

Abdullah Feb 15, 2017 01:36pm

Is it not clear as daylight that Sharifs are corrupt to the core and have got nothing to prove... Just blaming Imran Khan won't work, IK is loved by this nation not only because of his hero status and philanthropist work but also for his single-handed fight against corrupts.

Mahmood Feb 15, 2017 01:39pm

How convenient!!

All records of business - which allegedly were and still are based in London - "were lost during the 1999 martial law"? Did Musharaf raid their office in the UK too??

No body kept backups? No records with their Accountants or Auditors, or Inland Revneue in the UK? Hmm... I can see a pack of lies when I see one.

How diabolical is this?

shah G Feb 15, 2017 01:46pm

An interesting show to expose the internal of the so called great people. All the people of Pakistan hope that it will end in logical conclusions and will benefit the state of Pakistan for the well fair of the people.

Mangal Feb 15, 2017 01:53pm

Only in Pakistan can you argue in the SUPREME COURT that we don't have any record and get away with it.

Salim Feb 15, 2017 02:00pm

So the lies start again.... I am sure the banks would have a record even if their personal record is not available

Muhammad Feb 15, 2017 02:00pm

"The record for the Sharif family's business dealings for the last 40 to 45 years cannot be reproduced, the counsel said, as "it was lost during the 1999 martial law."

It is amazing that all record was lost but Sharif family is still enjoying the fruits of their businesses despite lost record without any legal and official hindrances WoW what a country

Paggrri Sambhal Feb 15, 2017 02:08pm

So the case is going to its logical end.Raja has no further evidence and what he demands a judicial inquiry to get more time.The ruling elite has no shame or moral.

SAB Feb 15, 2017 02:16pm

We are billionaires, we have been in business for decades and still we have no record.

Falcon1 Feb 15, 2017 02:17pm

Wait till the counsel comes back with yet another excuse, like his "clients can't recall, who gave them hundreds of $ millions as a gift."

In this bizarre case, anything is possible. We are living in a weird world of make-believe now.

Ahmed bin Babar Feb 15, 2017 02:27pm

How come..?!

iffi Feb 15, 2017 02:28pm

Now this is getting very funny that PM & family doesn't have record of billions of rupees ... can this argument is admissible for an ordinary citizen of Pakistan ....

mohammed Feb 15, 2017 02:32pm

So Multi Million Pound Flats were purchased but there is no money trail. This case is so easy decide that even a child would know by now what the truth is!

SU Khattak Feb 15, 2017 02:34pm

Sohail Wariach in his book about the Sharif's stated that the family will never again divulge info about their wealth to anyone....

Masood Feb 15, 2017 02:36pm

I feel the case is almost concluded.

ABE Feb 15, 2017 02:38pm

Lies, No Taxes and No Records!

This case cannot get anymore bizarre!

Oh, but wait. Tomorrow is another day. We are in for another surprising revelation.

Gaf Feb 15, 2017 02:35pm

@Salim your are right. But surely they must remember the name of the bank they were banking with.

What about the tax returns in each country they did business in.

Banks, tax office documents and deeds, etc surely they all cant't have disappeared. wow!!!!

'Only in Pakistan can you argue in the SUPREME COURT that we don't have any record and get away with it.'

shoaib Feb 15, 2017 02:37pm

So, according to PM General Musharraf was able to destroy all records both in Pakistan and abroad, in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and London. All banks records, all land registry, all companies records etc. etc.

M Rafique Feb 15, 2017 02:44pm

Unique example of greed of individuals, defended by sitting govt at the cost of public money

Saif Zulfiqar Feb 15, 2017 02:45pm

Records have been cleaned long ago.

Sabir Feb 15, 2017 02:46pm

"it was lost during the 1999 martial law."

It lost from every forum, sending end, mechanism used, and receiving end. Amazing ???

Awais Feb 15, 2017 02:49pm

Thank God, Rest of the World is not like Pakistan where documents can be manufactured. They cannot acquire fake documents from Britian and banking trails.

They got away during Election Rigging case because of Faking the Records and Documents locally. This is a litmus test for the Judiciary. People of Pakistan want Accountability across the board starting from atop.

Parvez Feb 15, 2017 02:50pm

Apart from this being a case of corruption......its more importantly a case of the use of a public office for personal gain......absolutely immoral.

SadFaces Feb 15, 2017 02:58pm

40 years of business records all gone in an instant. Maybe NAB should look into this now.

Omer Feb 15, 2017 02:57pm

Not to be opinionated but it seems the records did not exist from the start. 1999 martial law would have preserved all the documentation as all their properties ownership deeds and others were confiscated as a bargain to let Mian saab and his family leave for saudia arabia.

irfan Feb 15, 2017 03:06pm

"You have been moving from one point to the other since the beginning, but have failed to provide any evidence in this regard.” And there will be more circumlocutions.

sami Feb 15, 2017 03:11pm

bought flats in 2006 but their record was lost in 1999, what a great argument to prove NS innocence, how funny!!!

anybody can find trail of lies because there is no money trail

Gaf Feb 15, 2017 03:21pm

@shoaib Exactly what I wanted to say;

'So, according to PM General Musharraf was able to destroy all records both in Pakistan and abroad, in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and London. All banks records, all land registry, all companies records etc. etc.'

Sab Se Pehle Pakistan Feb 15, 2017 03:25pm

No record. Hence the Shareef family failed to provide money trail proving that the money was legitimate. Anything else left in this case? The more we delay in having a verdict in Panana Leaks the more damage corruption will do to Pakistan.

Shahid Feb 15, 2017 03:32pm

Do these people have their birth certificates, matric, inter, and other certificates? Aren't they much older than the times being questioned about the named documents here? Also what a circular argument, ala circular debt or circular gifts.

Bilal Feb 15, 2017 03:45pm

Everybody criticising PMLN here all of a sudden. Please also reveal the party you voted for in 2013! Bet you all voted Pmln! Hypocrisy at its peak!

ZOOKH Feb 15, 2017 03:47pm

Previously they asserted there is no record. Now they argue the record existed but lost in 1999 coup.

Pashtun Feb 15, 2017 03:51pm

All records of a business of a billionaire lost after a Martial law. Funny mine (and I am sure many others' ) are all still there...

Truth Feb 15, 2017 03:58pm

So, I guess the moral of the story is that you have to be a billionaire to blow away all your business records.

If you're a mere millionaire, you are a miser and maintain meticulous money trail!

And if you're poor, you hold onto even the Ration Card close to, like the dear life!~

SIR RAM PRASAD Feb 15, 2017 04:02pm

and the Topi Drama continues, both the parties are wasting time......

Waaris Feb 15, 2017 04:13pm

Destroying vital record is common among the corrupt politicians.

fAZEEL mEHBOOB Feb 15, 2017 04:17pm

My question is that, if the counsel has no record of PM properties even of abroad flats so why and for which purpose he is asking for inquiry from different departments. Its just kidding with the public of state and also with the institutes of country. Lets see what decision will SC will take..

Gaf Feb 15, 2017 04:21pm

@ZOOKH Yes previously it was CASH DEALINGS only and now as you suggest'

'Previously they asserted there is no record. Now they argue the record existed but lost in 1999 coup'

Rameez Feb 15, 2017 04:30pm

it is possible for the records to be lost but it is not possible for the records to be lost on every side being starting and ending point of a business there would have been backups so the question is where are those backups ? and how can the records be lost from every premises including countries such as UK, Saudi Arab, Qatar.

shafiq ahmad uk Feb 15, 2017 04:28pm

Musharraf destroyed business record past present and future in 1999 so Mr Raja can provide nothing.

Talha Feb 15, 2017 04:36pm

But Nawaz Sharif said in the Parliament that all documents are available? Did he lie about this too on the floor of the house again?

I Ahmed Feb 15, 2017 04:37pm

Please use your VOTE wisely if you want to change Pakistan, DON'T VOTE TRIED & TESTED CORRUPT PARTIES. As we all know, all institutions are controlled by governments and the heads if these institution are crooks placed there by government (NS, Zardai and previous). These Institutions protect the government and it's corrupt officials. This has been going on since Independence. FBI, Police and others must be made independent so that a Police officer can Knock on President's door and investigate with out any fear. ONLY WAY TO BRING CHANGE IS TO VOTE PARTIES FIGHTING AGAINST CORRUPTION.

Abdulla Hussain Feb 15, 2017 04:46pm

The nation wants to know pure truth, SC has a big responsibility.

Make Pakistan great Feb 15, 2017 04:53pm

Can you believe it that business can be done without any record?

Muneer Feb 15, 2017 04:57pm

Everything is clearly stated in Mr Ishaq Dar's statement.

No further records are required.

sfunds Feb 15, 2017 04:59pm

Corrupt Leaders are the reason South Asian Countries cannot become Developed Countries and remains Third world country. Go to Europe /US you will notice all Asian hard working , dedicated. In their motherland their leaders are corrupt to the core

SABIR KHAN Feb 15, 2017 05:05pm

No documents no record but still retain the London estate. No one dare to touch the estate. What a shame full life.

Zia Feb 15, 2017 05:08pm

Ironic! A poor guys finds 100 rupees and uses it to feed his kids is put in jail for yrs and whole bunch stole billions and put to highest position in the country and then people wonder why country is a mess. Cricketers arrested and sent home in one day without even allowing the hearing and here is the king Pharoah who tells the country do whatever you can and you can not do anything to me.

Amir Dewani-USA. Feb 15, 2017 05:11pm

It is like hoodwinking the SC when you are prepared to produce documents of 'deeds', but not the 'misdeeds;. And naturally, the lawyer has to defend his client. But here, the defendant is the whole of a ruling family headed by the PM of this 'Islamic Republic'! He is under the oath to tell nothing but the truth. Especially, when the PM has already told the public that he has all the documents, it is hard to believe contention of his lawyer that the required documents are no more available. It seems the intention of the defendant is to linger on and on , but the honorable judges are wiser enough not to be so misguided. In any case, justice delayed is justice denied.

LAHORI KID Feb 15, 2017 05:22pm

@Abdullah, It is clear as day, we just simply cannot prove it in the court of law, after all, they are where they are not because they are stupid, its because they are clever. And please, easy on the compliments for IK, no one can single handedly do anything, not even clap. Being loved and being voted for are two different things. Let IK focus on the issues.

Ashfaq Feb 15, 2017 05:42pm

What can't be digested is the fact that no proof of any transaction is available, pretending all is lost during 1999 martial law.Its not just ridiculous but also exhibits that either 1999 0r 1990 banks had proper systems in place and thus if even personal data is lost, bank records must not be forfeited

Reality Feb 15, 2017 06:25pm

@Bilal . What vote? Elections were rigged, remember...

haider shaikh Feb 15, 2017 06:40pm

The Court should not accept their lame excuse that the record was lost during the martial law. It is their responsibility to produce the record before the court else get themselves ready for due punishment.

Ashraf yousaf Feb 15, 2017 06:46pm

No money trail no source? Dubious statements by nawaz & co. Who can reconcile their contradictions? Tricks to linger on the case to gain time. Its an open and shut case! !!

Muneer Feb 15, 2017 07:11pm

Sharif family has been living in these flats since 1993.Nawaz Sharif has stayed there whenever he went to London for visits,short or long stay. He met there his PMLN leaders,held conferences with Benazir/others,held press conferences there from 1993 till now.Yet NS says in the court that he has nothing to do with the flats and has no record.Lies certainly do not have legs to stand.If NS father Mian Sharif have relations with Qatari al Thani family,how were these developed.Certainly,Nawaz Sharif tenure as CM and PM has advanced these interests.Thus,he is closely connected not only with his father/ family business but also with London Mayfair flats.

aga khan Feb 15, 2017 07:18pm

"The counsel also argued that the court cannot reach a just conclusion in the case without first conducting a judicial inquiry."

This is THE bottom line-- the council is asking for the ENQUIRY -- meaning time - and postponements-- Thus drama to let naturally die in due time AND every can live happily as ever.

Very smart and clever move

Iqbal Hadi Zaidi Feb 15, 2017 07:33pm

Blunt questions but purely academic so please do not paint them otherwise. (A) If PM Mian Nawaz Sharf cannot prove his innocence then as a consequence SC may disqualify PM which is quite logical (B) If PM proves his innocence then he is honorably acquitted by SC which is quite but natural (C) If B prevails and its possibility simply cannot should not be ruled out in any case then what punishment will be inflicted on Imran, Sh Rashid and Jamat? (D) Who gets maximum punishment and who gets the least? Iqbal Hadi Zaidi / Kuwait /

Ali Feb 15, 2017 07:58pm

The people of Pakistan "demand" politicians be held accountable for corruption. PM Nawaz Sharif has not provided proof of how his family acquired London properties? Why did his family need to open secret Panama companies and bank accounts?

Sharif family admits they own London properties, so they have to provide details of its acquisition. Since they are not providing any proof, they are guilty of hiding facts as they were acquired with corruption money? No prime minister can be above the law.

M Y Feb 15, 2017 11:40pm

Now the general public of Pakistan do understand these corrupt mafia so called ruling family, It should not be difficult for the Judges to decides the case in favor of People of Pakistan! If the Judges are impartial!!!!!!!!!

Scary Feb 16, 2017 03:06am

I am astonished how people think that records are maintained in Pakistan accurately. I own a property that I brought in 1980's. There is one deed which has fictitious amounts as no one declares the real prices. I have no idea where it is now. In the Shariffs case we all know that Mushraff confiscated their model town house. We also know he went through each and every record meticulously with his appointed generals and found nothing. Everyone also knows this was one of the richest families even before Nawaz joined politics. What do you think there father did. Kept the wealth under the bed so that no general or Bhutto comes along and take it. He quietly invested it abroad as any intelligent person would do. That is why the children have their business abroad. To protect them. Just like Imran Khan does not want his son's to come and serve their country here. It's time to recognize that Shariffs are as honest as any one else and remember no one is honest in Pakistan. Let's move on.

imran Syed Feb 16, 2017 04:27am

@Bilal Not All voted for them. But yes there are majority who voted for them. and they need to learn from this.

3D PerspEctive Feb 16, 2017 05:18am

SC India has just verdict a case of " disproportionate assets"assets of CM Tamil Nado,that may be of interest to readers.

X DAWN Subscriber Feb 16, 2017 09:53am

@Abdullah Very true

Sultan Durrani Feb 16, 2017 10:24am

When these guys have kept their Birth Certificates intact since last 66 years, then how come they have lost business/ property record of hardly 37 years back. Isn't it a brutal joke

X DAWN Subscriber Feb 16, 2017 10:29am

@Mahmood You are so right. I think the Supreme Court judges cannot be fooled with this childish argument or excuse.