Pakistan SC not satisfied with PM Sharif’s reply in Panama Papers case

Pakistan’s Supreme Court was not satisfied with claims by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam on Tuesday that their flats in London were purchased with the proceeds of real estate investments in Qatar.

world Updated: Nov 15, 2016 22:02 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
Panama Papers,Pakistan SC,Nawaz Sharif
Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, centre, army chief General Raheel Sharif, center left, and Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong, centre right, arrive for a ceremony at Gwadar port, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) west of Karachi.(AP)

Pakistan’s Supreme Court was not satisfied with a claim by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam on Tuesday that their flats in London were purchased with the proceeds of real estate investments in Qatar.

Sharif and his family, facing pressure from the opposition since the Panama Papers leaks showed the premier’s three children owned offshore assets worth millions of dollars, informed the court that their London apartments were bought through investments in Qatar and were not gifts.

Along with 397 pages of documents providing details of transactions and receipts for payments since 2011, the Sharif family submitted a letter from Qatari prince Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani that said the flats were purchased through the settlement of accounts between the Al Thani family’s real estate business and the Sharif family.

Akram Sheikh, the counsel for Sharif’s children, submitted the letter from the prince to the top court’s larger bench. The letter, addressed to the apex court, stated that Mian Muhammad Sharif (Nawaz Sharif’s father) invested 12 million dirhams in the Al Thani company in 1980.

“In the year 2006, the accounts in relation to the above investment were settled between (Nawaz Sharif’s son) Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Al Thani family, who then delivered the bearer shares of the companies referred in para 4 above to a representative of Hussain Nawaz Sharif,” the letter said.

Maryam told the court that she was only a trustee and not a shareholder or beneficiary of the properties.

Responding to Al Thani’s letter, Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa asked the Sharif family’s counsel whether the prince would appear in court as a witness. Khosa also observed the letter contradicted Sharif’s earlier stance on the London flats.

The premier’s family submitted the documents hours before a bench resumed hearing a slew of petitions filed against Sharif on the basis of the Panama Papers leaks. The documents include details of the premier’s wealth tax for 2011 and 2012.

The apex court had directed all parties to submit documentary evidence in support of their claims in connection with the Panama Papers leaks case by November 15.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan had a meeting with his counsel Hamid Khan to prepare for the case. Party leaders said 686 pages of documents that chronicled the alleged wrongdoings of the Sharif family had been submitted in court on Monday.

But the Supreme Court expressed its reservations about claims made by Khan’s party because it had not submitted relevant documentary evidence. “You have disappointed us by filing a huge number of documents which have no relevance to this case,” the bench said.

The media too reported that most of the documents submitted by Khan’s party were reproductions of records already published in the media or submitted to different forums in the past.

First Published: Nov 15, 2016 22:01 IST