Panama Papers case: JIT finds massive increase in Nawaz Sharif, family's wealth

Cheryl Sanders
July 18, 2017

Sifting through the chain of events that have unfolded in Pakistan in the last one year and more, it is evident that the army, under General Raheel Sharif, had rescued Sharif and his government from the siege that was laid by opposition leader Imran Khan and Canadian-Pakistani cleric Maulana Quadri.

The JIT in its damning report submitted to the Supreme Court on July 10 recommended that a corruption case be filed against Sharif and his sons - Hassan and Hussain - and his daughter Maryam for evading tax. The party leaders and spokespersons were also briefed about the stance on Panama case.

It all started with last year's release of the Panama Papers, which identified three children of the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as owning undeclared offshore companies and assets, including London real estate. They have described the investigation as an attempt to derail the democratic process and claim Sharif has been punished for both making Pakistan a nuclear power and for starting the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is expected to bring over $US50 billion investment in Pakistan.

Pakistan is in the middle of a heated political controversy, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif under intense pressure from the political opposition and sections of the media to resign from his post.

Of these 15 cases, three were filed during the 1994 and 2011 tenures of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and 12 were prepared during the tenure of Pervez Musharraf, who toppled Sharif's government in October 1999 in a military coup. Going by the available reports, it is likely that Sharif's family made money and used that money to acquire - legally or otherwise - business interests overseas, as indicated in Panama Papers. This massive increase has been noted to have happened during the year 1992-93 when Sharif was the Prime Minister of the country. The font used to create the deed - Calibri - only became commercially available in 2007, after the deed was allegedly signed.

He will have his fate decided by the Supreme Court on Monday. Investigators also believe that a letter sent by a Qatari royal whose family had been a business partner of Nawaz Sharif's father is fake. Furthermore, that a part of the report was withheld which is also violative of the rights of Sharif family given "that the correspondence and material relating to Mutual Legal Assistance is neither privileged nor otherwise its disclosure is prohibited by any provision of law", the application said. He criticized the JIT report and reaffirmed that he will defend his innocence and that of his family. "Does this mean the prime minister and his family have accepted the report?" he wondered. Some have gone as far as to allege, in veiled terms, that Pakistan's intelligence agency - the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) - provided the JIT with investigation against the ruling family. From dismissing the elected civilian government in the early years after partition to the death sentence of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and eventual military interventions during the early and late-1990s, Pakistan's democracy generally and civilian governments specifically continue to find themselves playing a very limited role in national strategic issues. Sharif himself has alleged that he is the victim of a conspiracy to dislodge him, with PML-N members and supporters hinting at army intervention. "Army has no role in the process".

"The entire country knows the JIT's findings...we are not bound by them", he remarked during the arguments submitted by the counsel for the JI."The counsel has to tell us as to why we should implement the findings", he said, adding, "Tell us to what extent we can implement the suggestions of the JIT".

Other reports by iNewsToday