Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will appear today before a Supreme Court- appointed team for Panamagate graft case. It is an unprecedented development that will make the PM first sitting premier to depose before such a panel. Wajid Zia, the joint investigation team (JIT), had summoned Nawaz Sharif to appear before the six-member team today with all documents relevant to Panamagate graft case.
Nawaz Sharif held consultations with his close aides and family members this morning and it is expected that Ishaq dar, finance minister of Pakistan, will accompany him. He has already stopped his party activists from joining him or receiving him at the Judicial Academy in Islamabad.
The summons was issued on Saturday to Sharif after he returned from Kazakhstan where he had attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Summit. In its judgement of April 20 in the Panama Papers case, the Supreme Court had constituted a JIT and empowered it to summon the prime minister, his sons and any other person necessary, to investigate allegations of money-laundering, through which the four apartments in London’s posh Park Lane area were purchased.
Sharif has denied his relations with any wrongdoings. The JIT had questioned Sharif’s sons – Hussain and Hasan – last month over the family’s alleged improper business dealings. His eldest son Hussain was questioned five times while Hasan, the younger son, was summoned twice. The court last year took up the case and issued a split decision over allegations of money laundering when Sharif was prime minister in 1990s.
The Supreme Court set up a high-level six- member JIT to probe Sharif and his sons’ alleged corruption in the Panama Papers case on May 5. The JIT is bound to complete the probe in 60 days unless it is granted additional time. It is for the first time that a sitting prime minister would appear before a high-level probe team traditionally constituted to investigate high-profile criminal cases. It is still not clear that whether Sharif will be questioned for once or not. There are chances that he would be called again like his two sons.