The elder son of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned to Islamabad on Monday hours before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the offshore assets of the premier and his family in line with the Supreme Court’s April 20 judgment in the Panamagate case submits its fourth and final report to the top court.
Hussain Nawaz on July 5 went on a brief visit to Qatar and the London. Hussain visited the Qatari capital of Doha – apparently to cajole Prince Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber al Thani to cooperate with the JIT probing into the Sharif family’s offshore assets. Lawyers for the Sharif family had submitted two separate letters from the Qatari royal confirming his business ties with the Pakistani ruling family linking money trail of their luxury flats in an upscale London neighbourhood.
The JIT had been asking the Qatari prince to either visit Pakistan or meet them at Pakistan’s Embassy in Doha to confirm the authenticity of his claim. Prince Thani had reportedly asked the JIT to visit him at his office.
A five-judge bench was split 3-2 while announcing the April 20 verdict, with head judge Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed ruling against the premier in their dissenting notes. Through its final decision, the Supreme Court formed a JIT and ordered it to investigate in depth the money trail for the Sharif family’s contentious London flats at the heart of the case.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court was formed to oversee the implementation of the April 20 verdict.
The court decision was accepted by all at first. Both respondents and complainants distributed sweets and claimed victory when it was announced, especially the ruling PML-N, without fully realising what would come next.
On May 5, the implementation bench finalised and approved a six-man high profile probe team headed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia and comprising officers of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI).
The JIT was given two months to find out answers to some 13 questions – mainly related to the money trail for the Sharifs’ London properties – and a deadline of July 10 was set by the court.
The JIT submitted its first fortnightly report on May 22 and the court expressed satisfaction over it. At the time, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had requested the court to make the report public, but the bench observed it would do so when it deemed it necessary.