10 July, Islamabad
A three-judge bench of the Pakistan Supreme Court on Monday began examining a report submitted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which probed allegations of money laundering against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.
According to local media, the JIT has observed major disparities in the finances of the Sharif family and their known and declared sources of income and has recommended action under NAB Ordinance 1999.
“Significant gap/disparity among the known and declared sources of income and the wealth accumulated by the Respondent No. 1, 6, 7 and 8 have been observed,” said the investigation team in its closing remarks, reports the News.
“The financial structure and health of the companies in Pakistan having linkages to the Respondents also do not substantiate the wealth of Respondents,” added the document.
“Moreover, irregular movement of huge amounts in shape of loans and gifts from Saudi Arabia-based company (Hill Metals Establishment), United Kingdom based companies (Flagship Investments Limited and others) and United Arab Emirates based Company (Capital FZE) to Respondent No. 1, Respondent No. 7 and Pakistan based companies of Respondent No. 1 and family have been highlighted.”
However, a senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Ahsan Iqbal said that the ruling party rejects the Joint Investigation Team’s final report as “garbage”, adding that the report lacks substance.
He said that the party’s lawyers were analysing the report from every angle. “We will unveil the contradictions of this report in front of the Supreme Court,” he said.
After the report’s submission, the bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and including Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, ordered the registration of FIR against Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Zafar Hijazi.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had informed the court over the weekend that its inquiry had found Hijazi guilty of tampering records of SECP’s probe into the Chaudhry Sugar Mills, owned by the Sharif family.
The bench also ordered that the name and institution of the individual responsible for leaking a photo of Hussain Nawaz sitting before the JIT should be made public, Dawn reported.
The matter does not fall within the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction, so the government may form a commission to probe the matter, the court said.
The bench also took a strict stand against a local newspaper for publishing material it said was contrary to actual JIT proceedings over the past 60 days.
The SC ordered the filing of a contempt of court notice against the printer, publisher and reporter of a story titled “Panama JIT doesn’t find PM guilty’, but his sons”, which appeared in The News on Monday, July 10.
The JIT, formed on May 5 in light of the Supreme Court’s April 20 judgment, was tasked to ascertain the money trail of the Sharif family-owned properties in Park Lane, London.
The JIT included State Bank of Pakistan’s Amer Aziz, Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s Bilal Rasool, Military Intelligence’s Brig Kamran Khursheed, Inter Services Intelligence’s Brig Nauman Saeed (retd) and National Accountability Bureau’s Irfan Mangi.