ISLAMABAD: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court to probe the allegations against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family will seek input of the implementation bench on two crucial matters – including the important question of how to summon the prime minister.
The Supreme Court had announced a three-judge bench to implement its judgement in the Panama Papers case. The bench consists of Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan.
The JIT also wants the implementation bench to approve the detailed questionnaire to be sent to various key stakeholders of the prime minister’s family.
Sources privy to the working of the JIT said: “The team does not want to visit the PM House to question the prime minister, as it will attract a lot of ire from the opposition and may attract accusations of partisan attitude.”
“On the other hand, the option is to issue a notice to the prime minister. Such a notice is normally issued under CrPC 160 which means that the prime minister is being considered as an accused,” they added.
“This is a situation that again is to be avoided as it will give the opposition a lot of ammunition to fire at the prime minister.”
In this regard, the JIT met the SC registrar on Tuesday earlier this week to discuss the matter and work out a solution to the issue.
“So far they have not reached any conclusion; hence, they will seek the directions of the bench,” the sources said.
The JIT is empowered to summon the prime minister, his sons and if required others like Finance Minister Ishaq Dar or even Prime Minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif.
The JIT has also decided to call Qatari Prince Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani to question him about the letter that was presented on his behalf during the Panamagate hearing in the court.
Pakistan’s embassy in Qatar will be approached to deliver a request from the JIT to the prince, asking him to travel to Pakistan and appear before the JIT.
It is interesting to note that during the court proceedings the lawyers of the Sharif family had stressed that Prince Jassim will appear in the court if required. It will be interesting to see if he cooperates with the JIT.
The next hearing of the court is due on May 22 when the Supreme Court will receive the update from the JIT on the progress made so far in the probe and if they are facing any troubles.
Meanwhile, the NAB representative will also be meeting all former officials of the bureau who investigated the Sharif family in the early 2000s during the rule of Gen Pervez Musharraf.
The JIT (member) NAB had met former NAB chairman Lt-Gen Munir Hafeez to seek details of the probe initiated during that period.
The Supreme Court’s bench directions on Monday, May 22, will set the direction and tone of future investigations into the Panamagate case.