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Friday Apr 21, 2017

Don’t trust JIT to function independently, say Tareen, Rasheed


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Jehangir Tareen said on Thursday that he has serious doubts the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), to be formed for further investigation into the assets of Prime Minister and his sons Husain and Hassan Nawaz after Panama case verdict, will function independently and without being influenced.

Speaking in Geo News show Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath, Tareen said all institutions whose representatives are to be included in the JIT function under the Prime Minister’s authority.

“I don’t trust the JIT [to be independent] because Nawaz Sharif is the Prime Minister,” he said.

The PTI leader did, however, add that he wishes the officials part of JIT stand up to the premiere.

Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed also said that he doesn’t trust the committee to function without influence.

Commenting on the verdict, he said that the judges have sided with “us” as all five of them have termed Qatari letter and other documents provided by the other party “bogus.”

On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) leader Talal Chaudhry reiterated that all documents and affidavits presented by the defendant’s legal counsel can be re-verified by the JIT.

He said that the committee can interview Sheikh Jassim, Tariq Shafi and others too.

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered further investigations into corruption allegations levelled by the opposition against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying there was insufficient evidence to order his removal from office.

"A thorough investigation is required," Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said, announcing the highly anticipated decision following a months-long hearing stemming from the Panama Papers leak last year that linked PM Sharif´s children to offshore businesses.

The verdict ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation team (JIT) to carry out an investigation into how Gulf Steel Mill came into being, its sale and liabilities, how the sale proceeds ended up in Jeddah, Qatar and the UK. How the prime minister's children at their tender age had the means to purchase the flats in the early nineties.

It further raised questions regarding the letters written by Qatari Prince Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani, how the bearer shares crystilised into the flats, who the real owner and beneficiary of the offshore company Neilsen Enterprises and Nescol Limited was, how Hill Metal Establishment came into existence; where the funds for Flagship Investment Limited and other companies set up by Hasan Nawaz Sharif came from and where working capital came from and the source of millions gifted by Hussein Nawaz Sharif to his father originated from.

To seek answers to the questions raised, the Supreme Court ordered the formation of a JIT to investigate and present its report every two weeks before a Supreme Court bench. The court also ordered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and his sons Hasan and Hussein to appear before the JIT as and when required, which will complete its investigation within 60 days of its formation.

The order further added, that after receiving the JIT reports, periodic or final, the matter of disqualification of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif shall be considered.

Observing that the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had failed to carry out his duties, the apex court ordered the JIT to comprise one senior official each from NAB, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the Military Intelligence (MI) will be tasked to carry out the probe.

The detailed decision by the apex court comprised 549 pages, with the verdict split 3-2 between the five-member apex court bench.

Two dissenting judges on the five-member bench were of the opinion that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had not been honest to the nation and that he should have been disqualified.

The five-member bench led by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had reserved its verdict in the case on February 23. The decision comes ahead of general elections scheduled to be held next year.

Edited by: Sindhu Abbasi

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