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Sharifs need to prove money trail: SC [The Nation] 05 Jan, 2017


 

ISLAMABAD – The five-member Supreme Court bench, formed on the Panama leaks, yesterday held transfer of money from Dubai to Qatar or Qatar to London or Dubai to Jeddah would have to be established.Justice Khosa is heading a five-judge bench which is hearing the petitions of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Awami Muslim League and Tariq Asad advocate on the Panama leaks.The bench decided to hear the case on a day-to-day basis from 9:30am to 1pm while on Friday the case would be heard until 11am.Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa said the question would be relevant to look into the allegations made by the petitioners concerning possible conflict of interest as to how the official position was used. He stated Nawaz Sharif had said in an interview that he had left the family business in 1997.Makhdoom Ali Khan, who is now representing the prime minister, assured the court of providing the details today (Thursday) about when Nawaz Sharif became a minister, the Punjab chief minister and the prime minister.Justice Khosa observed Mian Muhammad Sharif died in 2004, while settlements for the London flats were made in 2006. As to the Qatari prince’s letter, he questioned whether there was any will or court decree that Mian Sharif had asked for transferring the property in the names of his grandsons.The question of money trail and transfer of money from Dubai to Qatar or Qatar to London or Dubai to Jeddah was again raised.Naeem Bukhari argued there was no record of transaction of money. He said the prime minister’s stance was that the proceeds of the Dubai steel mill were used to purchase Flats 16, 16A, 17 and 17A in London.Justice Ejaz Afzal said they would not go by surmises and conjectures as it would be like groping in the dark.He asked was there any law as to how money was carried from Dubai to Qatar and whether it was a crime to take money from one country to another by means other than through banks.“What were local laws in Dubai and Qatar governing taking out money at that time?” the judge said and further asked whether there was any law restricting transfer of money other than through banks or it was a punishable crime.He asked whether violation of those laws was applicable to Pakistan, further questioning how the prime minister committed a crime.Justice Khosa remarked the court wanted to understand how 12 million dirhams – sale proceeds of the steel mill in Dubai – were used two decades later to purchase a Jeddah steel mill.He said Section 122 of Qanun-e-Shahadat says anyone in the knowledge of any illegality should come forward and mention it.The bench observed: “The prime minister did not say that he had taken the amount to Qatar. He stated in his speeches that the money was shifted to Jeddah.” Justice Ijaz asked Bukhari whether 12 million dirhams were used to settle liabilities or to set up a mill in Jeddah. “Money trail has to be established,” he remarked.PTI Counsel Naeem Bukhari said the prime minister, in his address to the nation and in the speech delivered in the National Assembly, had asserted the quantum of money received from the Dubai mill was the source of funds to purchase the London flats, but his assertions were contradicted by his children as Nawaz Sharif never affirmed that any investment was made in Qatar.Justice Ijazul Ahsan questioned whether Bukhari meant to say the prime minister gave a misstatement or committed a confession.Justice Ejaz Afzal asked whether it was a total misstatement or a confession by the prime minister, adding if it was confession, they would consider whether it was illegality.Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said that at the end, they would ask someone from the bar to assist what statement could cause disqualification under Article 62 for not being “Sadiq” and “Ameen”.He asked him not to put the court into trouble otherwise people would stop contesting elections.Naeem Bukhari also argued on the taxes paid by the prime minister. He said the amount Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had paid as income tax was negligible while he had huge assets and bank accounts. He prayed to the court to disqualify Nawaz Sharif because he had concealed facts in the details of assets provided to the Election commission of Pakistan and in his address to the nation and on the floor of the National Assembly and was not “Sadiq” and “Ameen” under Article 62.The court asked him to prove whether the assets and the bank accounts were in the name of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Bukhari replied it was their joint family system.Justice Ijaz asked him to assist the court also on the issue of privilege of the PM’s address to the National Assembly.Bukhari requested the bench to issue a notice to Shehbaz Sharif to appear in the court and explain from where $34 million had come to pay for settlement of the loans of Hudaibiya Paper Mills in Al-Taufiq case which was decided by a London court.Justice Khosa said they did not want to put restrictions on anyone, but it should be kept in mind that the judges’ observations and remarks should not become points of discussions at television talk shows.He said people could express their opinions, but they should not name the judges.PTI Chairman Imran Khan said they were holding press conferences out of compulsion as in the election rigging case the other side claimed they did not have any evidence. He said it was the job of the opposition to raise their voice over corruption and violation of laws.Justice Khosa said they were not influenced by anything, but it was not in a good taste.The hearing was adjourned till Thursday (today).This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 05-Jan-2017 here.

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