International News

Panama Papers: Pakistan SC adjourns hearing, asks Nawaz Sharif’s party to present case on Tuesday

The prime minister’s lawyers have claimed that the investigators had ‘exceeded their mandate’.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday began its hearing in the corruption case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Dawn reported. The three-judge bench resumed the hearing in the Panama Papers scandal after nearly two months.

The team is investigating allegations of corruption against Sharif and several family members, including his apparent political successor Maryam Sharif.

On Monday, the bench heard arguments from lawyers of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan Awami Muslim League politician Sheikh Rashid, Dawn reported.

PTI lead counsel Naeem Bukhari requested that Sharif be asked to come to the court for questioning. The judges directed lawyers of Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) to present their arguments on Tuesday, and adjourned the hearing.

Opposition leaders, including Sheikh Rashid, arrived at the apex court and spoke to the media, reiterating their demand for Sharif’s resignation.

Sharif’s family had on Monday submitted its objections to the Joint Investigation Team report, claiming the investigators had worked “beyond their original mandate”, Geo News reported. The family’s lawyer has requested the bench reject the investigators’ report.

Sharif’s family also claimed that the team’s report was biased and that the investigators had not made appropriate inquiries from those who had given it with evidence. One of the respondents in the case is Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The Panama Papers case

The Pakistani Supreme Court had set up the JIT after Sharif was named, with several hundred others from cross the globe, in the Panama Papers leak in 2016. The leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca had revealed that three of his children owned offshore companies and undisclosed assets, including four expensive flats in Park Lane, London.

The panel had said it had found significant disparities between Sharif’s and his family’s income and their actual wealth, and recommended filing a corruption case against them. The family members implicated include Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain Sharif and his daughter Maryam Sharif.

Sharif continues to retain the status of a billionaire. His declared assets stood at at 1.84 billion Pakistani rupees (Rs 1.13 billion) in 2016.

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