ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s three scions submitted their replies in Panamagate case before a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Monday.
In their written reply, Hussain admitted owning offshore properties while Maryam claimed she is a trustee and Hassan out-rightly denied owning property abroad. Following their replies, the top court directed all parties to submit relevant documentary evidence before the court by Tuesday, November 15. The case has been adjourned till November 15.
During the hearing, the top court gave a week’s time to PM Nawaz’s children to submit evidence and establish that they are legal owners of property abroad. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa asked the Sharif family’s counsel Salman Aslam Butt to satisfy the court with documentary evidence if he wished to get a ‘clean chit’ for the premier and his family.
The replies contained an explanation for each of the properties mentioned in the case. Earlier, while giving details of the replies presented in the court, a PML-N leader told The Express Tribune that PM Nawaz and his children have not transferred any money abroad from Pakistan and therefore have not committed any wrongdoing. “No laws have been infringed upon,” he said.
The court was told that Maryam Nawaz is a taxpayer in her own right and not a dependent. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan is also witnessing the larger bench’s proceedings today.
In her reply, Maryam stated that she is not dependent on PM Nawaz in any way and is not a beneficiary of any foreign property. The reply added that she is a trustee of Nielsen and Nescoll Ltd.
Admitting that he owned a company abroad, Hassan claimed he has been running a business outside Pakistan for the last 16 years. Meanwhile, Hussain in his reply stated that he has been running a business outside the country for 22 years. He denied ownership of properties purchased through offshore companies.
On November 3, the top court gave a last chance to three scions of the ruling Sharif family to submit their replies on November 7. The Panama Papers on April 3 revealed that Premier Nawaz Sharif’s three children – Maryam, Hasan and Hussain – were among hundreds of powerful people who had stashed away money in offshore companies.
Meanwhile, the PTI on Sunday decided to expand its legal team for the Panama leaks case in the Supreme Court. Sources told The Express Tribune that the party’s legal team held a special meeting with the PTI leadership at chief Imran Khan’s Bani Gala residence. Naeem Bukhari and Dr Babar Awan also attended the meeting, they said.
According to sources, Awan has signaled his willingness to join the team which will represent PTI before the inquiry commission set up to probe the Panamagate allegations against the Sharif family. Renowned tax lawyer Dr Ikramul Haq will also be included in the PTI legal team and the services of a senior chartered accountant will also be obtained for the Panama leaks case, they said.
Talking to The Express Tribune, a senior PTI leader said that since Awan is an expert in criminal law, his inclusion in the party’s legal team will help build the case against Prime Minister Nawaz and his family. He added that PTI legal team head Hamid Khan is a constitutional expert.
On November 1, the bench asked both the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to submit their respective ToRs as it observed that in case of continued disagreement between the parties, the court could develop its ToRs.
Earlier, in his reply, Sharif told the bench that he is neither the owner of any offshore entities nor of any offshore properties, including flats in London. He also submitted that neither his name had appeared in the Panama Papers nor any accusations had been levelled against him in the said papers.
Sharif said he is a regular taxpayer and his entire income, assets and liabilities are duly declared in the tax returns as well as nomination forms for the elections 2013. Nawaz told the SC that none of his children are his dependent nor any of them has been declared his dependent.