Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will appear before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in connection with the Panama Papers probe into his family’s assets, the media reported on Monday. Sharif on Thursday will become the first sitting Pakistani Prime Minister to appear before an investigating agency, according to Dawn news reports. On June 8, the team issued summons asking Sharif “to appear on Thursday, June 15 at 11 am, at the office of the JIT, Federal Judicial Academy, Islamabad”.
The summons also instructed the Prime Minister to “kindly bring along relevant record/documents/material” related to the Panama Papers case which will entail nearly all the documents and evidence submitted to the Supreme Court by Sharif’s counsel, Makhdoom Ali Khan. Sources said that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar may also be questioned by the team before Sharif’s appearance.
In its judgment of April 20 in the Panama Papers case, the Supreme Court had constituted the 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 Park Lane area were purchased.
On June 2, the Prime Minister’s youngest son Hassan Nawaz appeared before the six-member probe team headed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia, reports Dawn news. A day earlier, Sharif’s elder son, Hussain Nawaz, appeared before the JIT for the third time to defend the money trail of the Sharifs’ London properties.
In his first appearance, Hussain refused to answer questions put forth by the investigative body, saying that the JIT’s status was “sub judice” as he had already filed a petition before the apex court regarding two of its constituents. Subsequently, the apex court rejected Hussain’s plea, seeking exclusion of the two JIT members. After each of the next two hearings, he told the media that he answered all of the questions put forth to him by the members of the JIT.