March 19, 2018

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Fate Hangs on 'Fontgate'

18 July 2017, 06:10 | Katie Chavez

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's Fate Hangs on 'Fontgate'

Panamagate Hearing Sharif Files Objections To JIT Report

The Pakistan Supreme Court on Monday will begin examining the report submitted by the joint investigation team (JIT), which investigated the assets owned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

Maryam and her brothers were named past year in the Panama Papers leak as owners of offshore companies used to buy luxury flats in London, prompting opposition politician Imran Khan to threaten mass protests unless the Supreme Court investigated.

Finally, there seems to be a conflict between Nawaz Sharif and the military establishment with his team questioning the ISI member in the JIT who according to them was the "more aggressive member" of the JIT.

He said this while chairing a party meeting here to review the latest political situation with particular reference to the hearing at the apex court, following presentation of the JIT report to the SC last week.

"After the full documents are reviewed by the Supreme Court, and documents pertaining to Volume 10 (of the JIT's report) are examined, the case against the prime miniser and his family will collapse", she said.

For the first time, the Pakistan Peoples Party (founded by Benazir Bhutto's father in 1967) and PTI have united, with both demanding the Prime Minister resign immediately. In February 2017, during the proceedings of Panama Leak case, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had remarked that NAB and FBR are not properly probing the case; and if institutions are not working, the court has to intervene.

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Finance minister Ishaq Dar ordered an inquiry to investigate the depreciation of the rupee.

Similarly, Nawaz Sharif wants peace in Afghanistan and is not interested in a policy of strategic depth; and a compliant government in Kabul. When the so-called Panama Papers were leaked previous year, the prime minister said he would step down if the charges were proved. " While the military has distanced itself from the case, the mere statement is being seen as presenting support to the country's highest court in case it decides to remove Prime Minister Sharif".

Quoting sources, Dawn said that "the family's legal team is waiting for reports on the credibility of the forensic and financial experts engaged by the JIT, and hopes to come armed to the Monday hearing with that information". Referring to Inter-Services Intelligence's representative in the JIT, Sharif said the person was not an employee of the spy agency and could not represent it on such a body.

Having vowed to parliament, investigators and the public that he had no stake in any offshore companies, the 67-year-old prime minister was revealed to be chairman of a company in Dubai.

It also recommended to the court the Sharifs be tried for corruption through Pakistan's anti-graft authority. He said one could understand if some Arab Sheikhs had been using most derogatory language about this country.

But the JIT says it found no evidence of a money trail leading from Pakistan through Dubai and Qatar to the London flats. "The entire nation, the PTI, the lawyers, everyone stands with the court", he said. Will the apex court give a declaration against Nawaz under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution?

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