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Supreme Court asks NAB to present Dar’s ‘confession’ record

Islamabad : (web desk)  Supreme Court on Friday told that the court will continue to hear the Panama case until it makes up its mind and the requirements of justice are fulfilled.

Hearing the case, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa made it clear that the bench will not be dictated by the wishes of the parties.

The prime minister’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan requested the court for more time to produce documents pertaining to Mian Muhammad Sharif’s will and the Sharif family’s gifts, and he was given until Monday to file the details.

The court also ordered that the NAB prosecutor general’s record in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference regarding Ishaq Dar’s ‘confessional’ statement be submitted in court.

The directives came as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has registered a petition seeking disqualification of the incumbent finance minister over alleged money laundering during the previous Nawaz government.

The SC directed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to provide details of Ishaq Dar turning approver in the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.

Shahid Hamid, who represents Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Maryam Nawaz and her husband Safdar, argued that Dar remained in detention in the military regime and he was forced to sign the confessional statement in a NAB case. He said that every forum and court has given his client a clean chit in every case.

According to a report carried by Express Tribune website, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa questioned why the anti-corruption watchdog had failed to file a reference against a Lahore High Court verdict quashing the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharifs.

The NAB chairman, who is appointed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the leader of the opposition, did not appeal the judgement, Justice Khosa observed. The judge said the LHC verdict was based on Dar’s pardon. “We have to see whether he was pardoned conditionally or unconditionally,” Justice Khosa observed.

If pardon was granted to the finance minister before his confession statement then it would be considered as the statement of accused, Justice Khosa said. He, however, added that if the pardon was granted after the confession then it would be considered as the statement of prosecution witness.

Justice Khosa remarked that when the NAB failed to file an appeal in Ogra scam case, the SC had ordered a re-investigation under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

The top court also observed that many individuals had been commenting on Panamagate proceedings. Rejecting reports of slow progress, Justice Khosa said the court could not be held hostage to people’s whims. “We will continue to hear arguments till we are satisfied,” he remarked.

Earlier during the hearing the bench wondered why Sharif family was not presenting complete details of property distribution after Mian Sharif’s death, if it claims of having it.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan told the five-judge bench that he had informed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the court’s order to produce the necessary documents and requested time till Monday for submission of the documents.

Justice Khosa observed that although it was all over the media that Makhdoom Khan had not presented these details in court, he still needed time to submit them.

The PM’s counsel reiterated that the defendant would provide the documents to court in some time. The court conceded and gave Khan time till Monday to submit the documents regarding distribution of properties of late Mian Muhammad Sharif and the gifts exchanged between the Sharif family members.

Earlier, money trail submitted by Maryam Nawaz showed that after the certificates of offshore companies received from Al-Thani family, she was entitled as the trustee. Also, the money for $8 million debt was also paid by Al-Thani family to Al-Taufiq Company.

The initial certificates of the company were cancelled in 2006 and the new steel mill business was initiated in the same year, according to the record presented by the defendants.

It was further disclosed in the reply submitted in court that investment for Jeddah Steel Mills was financed by Mian Muhammad Sharif.

Hussain Nawaz had also claimed that he used to send money to his father out of the earnings from this steel mill.

Hussain Nawaz has also submitted a new affidavit of Tariq Shafi in the Supreme Court. According to it, Tariq Shafi deposited money with Fahad bin Jasim, who was based in UAE at that time, as he was asked to do so by Mian Muhammad Sharif.

The Supreme Court (SC) adjourned the hearing of Panama Papers case till Monday 29th January.

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