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LAHORE: After exhaustive deliberations the Sharif family has finally decided to allow Maryam Nawaz to appear before the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the alleged money laundering of the premier and his children in the Panama Papers case.

“It has been decided that Maryam Bibi will appear before the JIT on Wednesday,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanauallah told Dawn here on Sunday.

Dismissing rumours that Maryam might not appear [before the JIT] for some reasons, the minister said: “I confirm that she will face the JIT like other members of the Sharif family and will reply its questions.”

In the summons addressed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter on June 25, the JIT has asked Maryam to appear before it on July 5 and bring all relevant record/documents pertaining to the Panama Papers case. “You are advised that failure to comply with the summons may entail penal consequences as per relevant laws,” the JIT said.

Maryam will be sixth member of the Sharif family to appear before the JIT formed on May 6 in the light of the Supreme Court’s April 20 verdict in the Panama Papers case to probe the offshore holdings of the Sharifs.

Before her, Nawaz Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain, younger brother Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and son-in-law retired Capt Muhammad Safdar had recorded their statements before the JIT. Hasan and Hussain will reappear before the investigation team on Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

A source told Dawn that there had been deliberations in the family whether to allow Maryam to appear before the JIT or not.

“Although some members were not in favour of sending her before the JIT, the premier thinks she should face the probe body leaving no chance for it to object to our cooperation,” he said.

Interestingly, Maryam remains active on social media and often serves as spokesperson for Nawaz Sharif, be it detection of a stone in his kidney or his meeting with Indian business tycoon Sajan Jindal, in this case her twitter account says nothing about it.

State Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb, who wastes no time in defending Maryam Nawaz on every forum, chose to remain tight-lipped when Dawn sought her comment on her appearance.

Meanwhile, Maryam, who had been in London to attend the graduation ceremony of her son Junaid, on Sunday left for Islamabad. “Maryam will see her father in Murree on her arrival from London. She will be thoroughly briefed by the legal team of the Sharifs about her response to the JIT,” he said.

The six-member JIT is due to present its report before the apex court on July 10.

The PML-N has decided to evolve its [Panama] strategy after July 10. “First we will see the JIT report on July 10 and then decide our strategy in the light of its findings,” Rana Sanaullah said.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2017