ISLAMABAD: Leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Tuesday accused two members of the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the Panama Papers case of harassing Hussain Nawaz, son of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who appeared before the team earlier in the day.

Addressing a press conference at the Press Information Department here, Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb and Daniyal Aziz raised objections over the attitude of the two members of the JIT — Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s Bilal Rasool and State Bank of Pakistan’s Amer Aziz.

They also raised objections over what they called the relaxed attitude of the judiciary towards Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan.

Marriyum, Aziz show concern over ‘relaxed attitude’ of judiciary towards Imran

Ms Aurangzeb alleged that the two members of the JIT were biased towards the Sharif family. The PML-N had already expressed its concern over inclusion of these two officials in the JIT, she added.

The minister accused the two JIT members of misbehaving with Tariq Shafi, a cousin of the prime minister, and said that they had told Mr Shafi not to appear before the JIT again. She alleged that the officials had told Mr Shafi that he could face a jail term if he did not withdraw the affidavit he had submitted in the Panama Papers case. “How can JIT members tell anyone what to submit and what not?” she questioned.

She said Mr Rasool and Mr Aziz should publicly declare that their association or friendship with the opponents of the Sharif family would not affect their performance as members of the JIT.

The minister also expressed concern over leaking of some papers, saying that it was upsetting that JIT’s summons to Hussain Nawaz were seen on social media.

The Supreme Court should take notice of the leaking of JIT’s summon and their use as political tools.

She said that Hussain Nawaz being a non-resident Pakistani was not obliged to abide the directives of the JIT. But he appeared before the JIT because he respected the law, she added.

Daniyal Aziz severely criticised the PIT chief and called him a proclaimed offender. He said it was strange that a ‘law breaker’ was roaming freely without any fear of the law.

He accused the Election Commission of Pakistan of being too lenient towards Mr Khan, saying that it was not taking action against the PTI chief for not appearing before it.

Answering a question about countrywide protests against electricity breakdowns, the information minister said the prime minister had taken notice of the situation and issued directives in this regard.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2017

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