ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders have said that the party has full confidence on the Supreme Court, and asked the apex court to ensure impartiality of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed in Panama Papers Case.
In a press conference along with the PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz at the Press Information Department (PID) in Islamabad on Tuesday, Marriyum Aurangzeb Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting said that we have legal right to contest the conduct of JIT members. She said that if JIT is impartial, it should look like impartial.
The state minister said that protection of legal rights of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children should also be considered as they are also Pakistani citizens.
Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Hussain Nawaz did not raise questions about Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s (SECP) Bilal Rasool earlier but he raised the issue when Muhammad Tariq Shafi was humiliated by the JIT.
The state minister said that Amer Aziz of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Bilal Rasool should have submitted disclosures about their links with opponents of Nawaz Sharif; however, they did not do so.
Marriyum Aurangzeb said that according to Hussain Nawaz’s lawyer, wife of Bilal Rasool was an applicant for the ticket of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
Moreover, she said that sons of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were out of the Country, and they could challenge the admissibility of their appearance in Pakistani Courts but yet they decided to appear. She said that Hussain Nawaz is non-resident but he is still appearing in all forums.
Earlier in the day, Hussain Nawaz again appeared before the JIT at Federal Judicial Academy in Islamabad and recorded his statement.
Marriyum also denied media reports that Hussain Nawaz suffered health issues while being interrogated by the JIT.
The minister said that televisions created panic that Hussain Nawaz had health issue and ambulance was called but this is against facts. Hussain Nawaz had no such issue, she added.
Marriyum Aurangzeb reiterated that whole Sharif family presented itself for accountability and submitted all evidences as per Court’s directives but Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan didn’t appear in Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) or in any Court. She said that Imran Khan is constantly avoiding Courts.
While speaking, the PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz said that JIT harassed Tariq Shafi and asked him to refrain from this case but he stood on his point. He questioned that why two members of the JIT deleted social media pages of their family?
Daniyal Aziz said that the JIT working should be transparent. He said that the Supreme Court should ensure impartiality of the JIT.
State run APP adds:
She said the prime minister and his family respected the superior Judiciary and were fully trying to assist the court and the joint investigation team in the Panama case.
She strongly dispelled the impression that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership had any reservations about the formation of JIT by the Supreme Court. If the prime minister had any doubt he would not have written a letter for the formation of a judicial commission and instead would have claimed immunity and privileges available to him and his family under the law of the land, she added.
She said even the PML-N did not object to the association of the two biased members with the JIT, it only objected to their biased conduct when Tariq Shafi was grilled and threatened of dire consequences.
The minister said that the Supreme Court should take notice of the revelation made in a news report by Ansar Abbasi regarding the inclusion of members in the JIT. If the report was correctit might create doubts about the neutrality of the JIT, she added.
Marriyum said Nawaz Sharif, who was the thrice elected prime minister of the country, relinquished his legal rights which were available to him under the Constitution as he wanted that the reality of baseless allegations against his family should be exposed at the level of the Supreme Court.
The minister recalled that the Supreme Court first declared the petition of Imran Khan as frivolous.
She also reminded that the Sharif family even provided those documents to the Supreme Court which were decades old but on the contrary Imran Khan was unable to provide ten-year old documents and money trail of his property, and admitted before the court that he did not possess any record prior to the last ten years.
Marriyum said that the Sharif family neither sought immunity, nor challenged the admissibility of the case in the court. The sons of the prime minister had the option not to appear before the JIT, but they did not seek any privilege, she added.
The minister said Imran Khan refused to appear before the judge in the anti-terrorism court and in the foreign funding case in the Election Commission failed to explain his financial matters.
Imran Khan had adopted an insulting postures towards the constitutional institutions and the ECP perforce had to call him an “uncivilized” person, she added.
She said Imran Khan had been asking for over 30-year old record from the Sharif family though the prime minister’s sons were doing business abroad and were non-resident Pakistanis, and as such were not answerable to the court.
The minister said the lawyer of Hussain Nawaz raised the issue that two JIT members had bias by association and the Supreme Court did not reject his point of view. Rather the court took notes and gave the observation that if it found any doubt about the conduct of the said members of the JIT, it would take appropriate notice.
The wife of a member of JIT, Bilal Rasool, was an applicant for the PML-Q ticket for the elections and also had association with PTI which was known to everybody, she mentioned.
Initially, the minister said, the Sharif family did not raise the issue of bias but Tariq Shafi was intimidated, harassed, continuously called a liar and threatened with dire consequences by some members of the JIT. The Supreme Court was told that the video recording of the investigation from Tariq Shafi was available and the court should take notice of it, she added. She said the JIT members should have disclosed about their
past affiliations which was an international practice but they did not do so. Marriyum said despite having reservations about the two members of the JIT, Hussain Nawaz regularly appeared before the JIT as the Sharif family did not want to stop the process of investigation.
She said some elements tried to create panic about appearance of an ambulance that arrived at the offices of JIT. She questioned as to who was trying to create panic by such activities? Moreover, she said that the JIT letter was leaked to the press and an impression was given
that Hussain Nawaz was not replying to the questions of the JIT, which was wrong and unfounded.
She said that it was right of the Sharif family to raise question about the conduct of JIT members and it should be seen whether the JIT was impartial in its conduct or not.
To a question about loadshedding, the minister said the government would take steps to resolve technical issues in the distribution and transmission of the electricity and the provinces would be taken onboard for timely repair of out of order equipment. A monitoring team would look into spike in loadshedding, she added.
Daniyal Aziz said whenever someone was interrogated, it was a tradition to provide him the list of questions, but the JIT in the Panama Papers case left the investigation open ended, which showed bias of the JIT members and it being a serious matter, the court should look into it.
He said public should be told how the JIT members were selected and those members, who showed bias, should leave the proceedings of the JIT themselves.
The Supreme Court should take notice of the news report of Ansar Abbasi to rectify the situation, he added.
Daniyal said Imran Khan made a statement that he was offered a bribe of Rs 10 billion but did not provide any evidence. Years had passed, but the court orders were not implemented in the cases of Imran Khan, he added.
He revealed that Tariq Shafi was repeatedly told that he was a liar and asked to take back his affidavit and was threatened with dire consequences.
He said Imran Khan was a proclaimed offender and should appear before the Election Commission and other courts from which he was running away.
He said summons were being leaked from joint investigation team, which was aimed to damage the Sharif family politically.
He also reiterated that video recording of investigation of Tariq Shafi was available which should be made public as it would prove that he was not treated fairly.