JIT recommends reopening of 15 old cases against embattled Pak PM.
Islamabad: The joint investigation team which looked into Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family assets in London following the the Panama Papers leak scandal has recommended reopening of 15 cases against the embattled leader, a media report said on Sunday.
The high-profile scandal is about alleged money laundering by Sharif in 1990s, when he twice served as prime minister, to purchase assets in London.
The assets surfaced when Panama Papers leak last year revealed that they were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif’s children.
The six-member JIT which probed the issue submitted its final report to the Supreme Court on July 10. It said the lifestyle of Sharif and his children were beyond their known sources of income, and recommended filing of a new corruption case against them.
According to the report in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, the JIT has asked the court to reopen 15 old cases, including five cases decided by the Lahore High Court, eight investigations and two inquiries against the prime minister.
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.
The case relating to the Sharif family’s four London apartments was also among the eight investigations started by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in December 1999.
In its April 20 verdict, the Supreme Court asked the JIT to investigate the money trail for the London flats.
The court’s other 12 questions were related to the sale and purchase of the Gulf Steel Mill, the Qatari letter, offshore companies and other matters.
In addition to the 18-year-old investigation into the London properties, the JIT has also recommended reviving cases such as three NAB references and two FIA cases that were quashed by the Lahore High Court.
The JIT even found anomalies in the cases quashed by the high court. The report noted “that these cases have also been quashed without conducting a proper trial and without giving evidence a chance to come on record”.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Army said that it had no role in the investigation of Sharif’s family assets, asserting that it was “focused only” on safeguarding the country’s security. Pakistan Army’s spokesman Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor told reporters that the joint investigation team was formed by the Supreme Court, “which did its job honestly. Its report will be examined by the court. Army has no role in the process.” Asked about the government’s allegations that the Panama Papers scandal and the subsequent probe into the prime minister’s family wealth was a “conspiracy” against the civilian dispensation, the spokesman said that the Army was “only focused on the security of the country.”