ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s legal team believes that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has failed to prove his direct link with offshore companies and assets.

Prime Minister’s Adviser Barrister Zafarullah told Dawn that the belief was expressed in a meeting presided over by the prime minister to discuss details of hearing of the Panama Papers case by the Supreme Court on Monday.

“In fact the JIT could not prove a ‘reasonable’ link or ‘moral certainty’ that Nawaz Sharif owns London property,” he said.

In reply to a question, the adviser said the Panama Papers case was not a fit case for the prime minister’s disqualification because the JIT could not establish his direct link with offshore properties and companies.

Marriyum asks opposition not to consider JIT report a court judgement

He said the prime minister was informed that the first day of Supreme Court’s proceedings in the case was quite smooth.

Barrister Zafarullah said Mr Sharif was quite satisfied with the first day hearing of the case and reiterated his pledge that he would not quit his office merely on the demand of the opposition. “He has already announced this in a recent meeting of the PML-N’s central executive committee,” he added.

The PML-N believed that the ‘conspiracy’ it was facing now was not new as it was being hatched since 2012.

“This conspiracy was being hatched against us since Tahirul Qadri’s Dharna (sit-in)-I,” PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz said outside the Supreme Court after the hearing of the Panama Papers case on Monday.

He said that in the 2012 Dharna, Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri raised a slogan ‘save state, not politics’ so that Nawaz Sharif could be victimised in the name of accountability.

“They wanted to keep Nawaz Sharif out of the 2013 elections because everybody, including the media, was saying that nobody can stop him from wining the polls,” he said.

A few days ago, the PML-N’s media managers had claimed that the JIT report might have been written at the time of Imran Khan’s sit-in of 2014.

Daniyal Aziz claimed that the UK authority had confirmed that the trust deed of Maryam Nawaz was signed in 2006 meaning that children of Nawaz Sharif became owner of London flats in 2006, but the JIT insisted that the trust deed was signed in 2004.

“Earlier the JIT was not ready to accept that the trust deed was made in 2006, but when it took a point of Calibri font (that it was written in this font which was commercialised in 2007) it claimed that the deed was signed in 2007.

Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said the opposition should not consider the JIT report as a verdict of the Supreme Court.

Talking to reporters outside the Supreme Court, she demanded of the apex court to public volume-10 of the JIT report so that the PML-N could reply whatever was hidden in that document. “The intention of the JIT will be exposed when volume-10 of the report is made public,” she said.

She said under what law the JIT was still working in the Federal Judicial Academy. “The language used by the JIT reflects that it is based on mala fide intentions,” she added.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2017