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Wednesday Apr 11 2018

Nawaz rails against selection, conduct of Panama case JIT

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif claimed on Wednesday that the testimony of Wajid Zia, who headed the Panama case investigation team which probed his assets last year, actually helped his [Nawaz] case. 

The premier made the remarks outside accountability court hearing the corruption cases against him and his family.

Nawaz claimed that Zia, whose cross-examination by Nawaz's counsel concluded today, attempted to hide facts that would benefit their case.

Reading from written notes, Nawaz claimed that Zia admitted he had no proof of his taking a salary from his son's company— the reason behind Nawaz's disqualification by the Supreme Court.

Talking about the joint investigation team (JIT) formed during the Panama Papers case hearing last year, Nawaz said, "that three of the six JIT 'stars', who were selected through 'WhatsApp', were our bitter political opponents as their family members were active members or ticket holders of the PTI [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf]". 

Moreover, the three-time premier also questioned the inclusion in the JIT of army officers from the country's military intelligence agencies. 

"My case was not a terrorism case. I was not working against the federation. What was the need to include these agencies [in the JIT]. This is a pertinent question which needs to be asked," asserted Nawaz.

Continuing his tirade against the JIT, Nawaz said Zia failed to disclose during the hearing how much fee he had paid to his cousin's company in the UK which was hired by the JIT. "This was the public’s money," Nawaz stated. 

He claimed further that the purpose of choosing certain people for the JIT was to ensure that "their wish of taking revenge against Nawaz comes true".

Earlier, while answering a reporter’s query inside the court, he said that preparations have already been started at Adiala Jail [Rawalpindi], wondering how they [jail admin] know that someone is coming. 

“The six-month deadline [to conclude the corruption cases] was not to conclude the trial but to give a sentence,” claimed the deposed premier.

In response to another question, Nawaz asserted that the people surrounding him at the moment are those who have been a part of the Pakistan Muslim League-N for generations.

Nawaz stated that he has discussed with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi the matter of making the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) ineffective during the term of the caretaker government so electoral candidates are not harassed by NAB.

In reply to a question over his stance on disgruntled party leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Nawaz said the people already know about him.