Panama Papers JIT probe enters crucial, concluding stage

Published July 1, 2017
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif leaves the JIT’s offices in the Federal Judicial Academy after his appearance before the investigators on June 15.—Mohammad Asim / White Star
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif leaves the JIT’s offices in the Federal Judicial Academy after his appearance before the investigators on June 15.—Mohammad Asim / White Star

The powerful six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) tasked with probing the business dealings of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons abroad is entering a crucial stage, with the investigation heading towards conclusion.

Sources told Dawn the JIT was in the process of winding up the probe by next week, after which it would finish compiling the final investigation report by the second week of July before it was submitted to the apex court by the July 10 deadline.

On Saturday, the JIT in its meeting reviewed the documents pertaining to the business and tax records of the Sharif family that were submitted by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

See: Defiant PM looks to next election for vindication

In this regard, the JIT is summoning members of the Sharif family once again. The premier's cousin Tariq Shafi will appear before the high-powered JIT on Sunday, when insiders said he will be re-examined over his statements recorded during his earlier appearance before the body.

And on Monday, the JIT consisting of members from SECP, National Accountability Bureau, State Bank of Pakistan, Military Intelligence, Inter-Services Intelligence and Federal Investigation Agency, has summoned Hussain Nawaz, the prime minister's elder son.

Hassan Nawaz and Maryam Nawaz will appear before the body on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, in what officials said will be the concluding week of the JIT tasked with collecting evidence within two months.

Insiders told DawnNews that the JIT summoned members of Sharif family for the second time after investigators found contrast between statements recorded by them and the documents submitted by relevant government departments.

The JIT was formed by the Supreme Court after its verdict on the Panama Papers case was split 3-2 among a five-judge bench, with the two dissenting notes in the judgment authored by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

The two judges had ruled against Sharif, saying he should be disqualified, whereas the other three were in favour of forming a JIT.

Despite the hype over the JIT and its ongoing investigations, legal and investigation experts feel the report, once it is presented to the court, will simply be the beginning of a long process.

Legal experts feel that the JIT’s report, once it is completed, may lead to further hearings.

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