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ISLAMABAD: The lawyer for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s sons sprang a new surprise before the Supreme Court on Thursday by claiming that the bearer share certificates of the four London flats remained in the custody of Maryam Nawaz — the PM’s daughter — between February and July 2006.

Salman Akram Raja told the court that a trust deed was executed between Maryam and Hussain Nawaz in February 2006, following which she acted as a trustee for her brother.

Maryam’s propriety connection with the four flats ends after the cancellation of those bearer certificates and their registration in the name of Minerva Services Limited — an entity that provides directors to the two companies Nielson Enterprises Ltd and Nescoll Ltd, the offshore companies that owned the four flats.

This was the reason, the counsel argued, why Maryam Nawaz’ name was listed under beneficial owner in the records of Minerva Services.

PM cannot be linked to any wrongdoing, argues Salman Akram Raja; court to question NAB, FBR chairmen at next hearing

The counsel had earlier explained that bearer share certificates were like prize bonds or currency: whosoever possessed them owned the properties in question.

Another company, JPCA — a firm of chartered accountants — took over charge from Minerva in 2014.

When Justice Saeed asked the counsel for documents to show who the authorised representatives of Minerva Services were, Advocate Raja replied that Minerva Services was authorised by the trustee service company, which Hussain now owned.

Justice Ejaz Afzal said the court wanted to know whether Maryam owned the property title at some stage. “As a trustee only, but technically possessed with no legal title,” was the counsel’s reply.

The judge then observed that the court had come across yet another veil and asked, rhetorically, who would lift it.

The counsel, however, maintained that his chain of narration was complete, adding that if the petitioners had any doubts, they should come up with solid evidence to contradict it or establish any wrongdoing. He brushed aside the possibility that Maryam had acquired any expensive properties.

Citing a number of judgements such as the 2012 Asghar Khan and Memogate cases, the counsel argued that the Supreme Court should not consider appointing any commission to further probe allegations of any wrongdoing under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

If any contention or narrative put forth by the Sharifs has to be disbelieved, where is the counter-evidence to prove any wrongdoing, particularly on part of the prime minister, the counsel asked.

Justice Afzal regretted that the narrative built by the counsel defied common sense; that a person holding expensive properties in London did not keep any documentary proof. He said the real question now was what the court should do in such a situation.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who heads the bench, observed that what the petitioner was asking for was a determination against the ruling family, adding that under the Constitution, nobody can bar the apex court from giving such a declaration.

The judge also said the court could hold that the explanation offered by the counsel about the ownership of the properties was not found to be honest.

During Thursday’s proceedings, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed regretted that Mian Sharif’s will, which reportedly contained instructions regarding transfer of ownership of the properties to Hussain Nawaz, was still missing.

Wrapping up his arguments, the counsel maintained the court could not proceed on mere presumptions, especially when the prime minister cannot be acted against due to lack of evidence. He said that even if the court rejected his entire argument, it could not link the prime minister to the flats in question.

But Justice Khosa reminded the counsel that when Mian Sharif was no more, the children said they had no money and everything came from Qatar, whereas Kulsoom Nawaz was simply a housewife, the only person left to question was the prime minister.

He also observed that when the relevant authorities had failed to show backbone and were reluctant to play their investigative role, then someone — meaning the court — had to supply strength.

NAB, FBR summoned

The five-judge bench hearing the Panamagate case called on chairmen of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to ensure their presence in court on Tuesday (Feb 21) to explain what measures had been taken in response to the Panama Papers controversy.

The bench has specifically asked NAB chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry to provide details about the 1999 Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference, which was quashed by the Lahore High Court in 2014.

The reference was initiated on April 25, 2000, based on a confessional statement of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, where he had admitted his role in alleged laundering of $14.86 million on behalf of the Sharifs. However, the witness was pardoned by the incumbent NAB chairman.

High court referee judge Justice Sardar Shamim had quashed the reference on March 11, 2014 on the grounds that if a re-investigation was allowed against the Sharif family, it would provide an opportunity to investigators to pad up lacunas. Later, NAB decided not to challenge the high court’s decision.

Advocate Naeem Bokhari, who represents Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, had sought directions against NAB to file a belated appeal before the Supreme Court to re-open the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference.

In its reply, NAB had pleaded that it was beyond its scope to probe the Panama Paper leaks and any action under the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 without evidence about the commission of an offence would be premature.

On Thursday, Justice Khosa concluded proceedings with the announcement that the court would hold the next hearing on Feb 21, adding that the case had resumed with the understanding that Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, who was still recovering from a heart ailment, will be afforded ample opportunity to rest.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2017

Comments (30) Closed

taha Feb 17, 2017 08:27am

so right!

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Feb 17, 2017 08:31am

The whole of Pakistan and the world knows, Nawaz and Kingdom are from looting the public money. It's high time to get rid of these corrupt 3 times tried and tested and Pakistan is still a poor nation. No to PPP/PMLN two sides of the corruption coin. Shame!

Abe Feb 17, 2017 08:44am

Who cares about London flats or who owned them, if the country is falling apart???

The chaos is what allows the corrupt to thrive, as ordinary people focus more on their own survival and protecting their lives and limb.

Amin Ansari Feb 17, 2017 09:43am

We have a family at the helm that steals, avoids paying taxes, builds assets overseas and then lies to hide it.

amir ali khan Feb 17, 2017 10:23am

Drama continues . Enter NAB and FBR chairmen . Plot thickens . What next ?

MALI Feb 17, 2017 10:36am

Nawaj Sherif, Imran Khan and bhutto family all safe in London. Only ordinary people face danger to life!

Shaikh Feb 17, 2017 10:50am

Yet another lie, how long they will fool the people of Pakistan. These Sharifs and Bhuttos have looted and still they are not satisfied. For God sake punish them to the maximum..

Hassan Feb 17, 2017 11:05am

Running out of lies, sharifs have a new story on every hearing, at this pace they will admit to all charges in next few weeks. It all started with never had property in Pak or abroad to own property in Pak and in London for 6 months.

Ben Feb 17, 2017 11:27am

Justice delayed is justice denied, and I hope when finally justice is delivered to them they pay for their arrogance, and crookedness.

Mohammed Feb 17, 2017 11:39am

The Sharifs have told so many lies that they have ended up confusing themselves. Let the SC call NS to the stand. Thus far he has avoided every press conference to answer the questions

Taimur Feb 17, 2017 12:04pm


Sahmad Feb 17, 2017 12:11pm

I can't stop laughing at this development. But guyz don't worry they will come out clean at the end.

Dr Khan Feb 17, 2017 12:27pm

Nawaz Sharif family is being humiliated in public. He should've resigned 9 months ago to save his image.

Saif zulfiqar Feb 17, 2017 12:46pm

Have some fear of Almighty.

salar Feb 17, 2017 12:47pm

And now more documents! It's a document factory!

zak Feb 17, 2017 01:44pm

In the midst of this foreign funded terrorism, Nawaz Sharif should resign,as these internal divisions are harming the war on terror and helping the foreign enemies. Let a sincere and a clean man come in, for God sake. Government has become non functional by spending all its time trying to avoid the inevitable corruption conviction of panama-gate and the whole family is in it.

zak Feb 17, 2017 01:52pm

'In its reply, NAB had pleaded that it was beyond its scope to probe the Panama Paper leaks'

NAB Working for interest of PML-N, not Pakistan.

Gaf Feb 17, 2017 01:54pm

For argument sake lets assume she did own the flats for six months. This was never disclosed or accepted before. So therefore technically she was the owner on the law at some stage, hence also the beneficial owner for a short period of time. Although as we all know she was the beneficial owner for much longer and probably still is under the cover of many offer shore companies.

What does this mean 'The counsel had earlier explained that bearer share certificates were like prize bonds or currency: whosoever possessed them owned the properties in question....'

Justice Feb 17, 2017 02:56pm

I fail to see how the Sharif family hold their heads high amongst western countries let alone Pakistan. They can and have been fooling Pakistanis, but they can't fool the western world by producing Qatari letters. They have and continue to ruin Pakistani image whatever is left of it. Time for Pakistanis to kick them out.

naji Feb 17, 2017 03:02pm

Most corrupt family running this unfortunate country.

Falcon1 Feb 17, 2017 03:15pm

Those flats are now owned by phantoms and shell companies, whose owners are....

naji Feb 17, 2017 03:23pm

May God help Pakistan.

Zahid BD Feb 17, 2017 03:33pm

Pakistan is spoiling their own fate!

Umar Feb 17, 2017 03:46pm

After this debacle I don't know how any body would like to be associated with n league very embarrassing for Pakistan that elite are liars

Razi Feb 17, 2017 04:56pm

I feel ashamed.

Nasir-London Feb 17, 2017 05:26pm

PPP PML-N leaders and Musharafs own palaces in their own country, why they need properties in London and else where.

Nasir-London Feb 17, 2017 05:34pm

@Justice: They are not or have not just ruined the immage but the Pakistan itself.

Iftikhar Husain Feb 17, 2017 05:38pm

It is clear that money laundered from Pakistan to do all the business abroad by PM family that is why no record has been kept. There is no other reason behind this saga.

Ali Feb 17, 2017 07:25pm

The nation is now told that London Flats were in Maryam's name for 6 months? Why? There is lot of documentation and expense involved in transferring property, so why was that done? Maryam had earlier made a declaration that she had "never" owned any property in London or Pakistan?

PM Nawaz Sharif and family still have to provide details of how these expensive properties were purchased? Earlier, he said it was from the proceeds of UAE and Saudi steel mill sale, then it was stated Qatari prince bought it for them? This is contradiction? People of Pakistan demand the truth. No one can be above the law.

Gaf Feb 17, 2017 07:39pm

@Ali You are absolutely 100% correct. Lies more lies and more lies to come.