ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday sought opinion from the parties over constitution of a Commission for investigation into Panama Papers.
The five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali continued hearing of the Panama Case in Islamabad on Wednesday.
During the hearing, the counsel of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Salman Aslam Butt, submitted his arguments and said that there was no contradiction in the speeches of his client. He said that Panama papers did not have the name of his client.
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked, “How are Maryam Nawaz’s expenditures covered?” He said that according to tax return records, Maryam Nawaz’s taxable income was zero. He added that the prime minister’s daughter had no job or source of income.
“The sources of her finance are gifts that she received from her brothers and her father and agriculture,” Justice Azmat said. “In her tax returns, Maryam has stated her income as Rs 21million while her travel costs are Rs 35million.”
Justice Azmat told the prime minister’s counsel that his arguments so far had not helped resolve whether or not Maryam Nawaz was a dependent of the prime minister.
Justice Azmat inquired after the 43-kanal agricultural land in Mansehra district which was worth Rs 243 million and had been declared under the name of Maryam Nawaz by the prime minister in his 2011-12 income tax returns.
“When did Maryam Nawaz give the prime minister money for the land?” Justice Azmat asked.
Salman Butt told the bench that the land was bought on April 19, 2011. He said that the prime minister had given the money for the land as a gift to his daughter who later returned the amount to him in the form of the land.
In his remarks, the Chief Justice said that documents submitted by the parties in the case needed to be verified. He said that a petition was already before the Court praying for the constitution of a Commission on the matter.
The Chief Justice clarified that the commission would have all the powers of a Supreme Court judge and it could acquire information from any department.
Justice Jamali said that the parties would have the opportunity to establish their respective points before the commission. He said that the Commission would present its report back to the larger bench.
Moreover, he said that the Court was fully independent and the decision would be on merit.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) counsel Naeem Bukhari said that time should have been given so that consultation could be held on the matter.
Later, the Court adjourned the hearing of the case till Friday.
PTI Chief Imran Khan’s media talk after today’s hearing: