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National

January 10, 2017
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Panama Leaks Case : Live from Courtroom No 1

Panama Leaks Case : Live from Courtroom No 1

ISLAMABAD: The day started with whispers ‘what would be the role of General (retd) Raheel Sharif after holding command of Islamic Military's Alliance to fight terrorism on certain terms and Supreme Court staffers' futile attempt to fix picture of former Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali in the Courtroom No 1.’

Meanwhile a golden clock struck 9:30am. Worthy judges took their seats. They looked fresh when Naeem Bokhari resumed his arguments on fourth consecutive day. He continued his arguments while many Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf‘s leaders were whispering into one another’s ears either General Raheel would be accepting a lead role in a military alliance of 39-Islamic countries or not?

Then there came another moment when many pensive looking lawyers, journalists and even many legislatures observed that PanamaLeaks case may witness a new turn today (Tuesday). Their pensiveness was based on possible reopening of investigation into a case of Sharif brothers who allegedly used the Hudaibya Paper Mills as cover for money laundering during the late 1990s.

Yes, confessional statement of Senator Ishaq came under question during the course of proceedings. It was a fresh query came from the judges as well as the petitioners who raised more than eighty (85) striking questions during thirty two hours long arguments in past four hearings.

PTI’s lead counsel, Naeem Bokhari, put 31 questions before the respondents and equally endorsed by the apex court. But interestingly he himself could not give satisfactory answers of 41 questions to five-member-judge bench of the top court who posed these quarries during the course of proceedings.

This was a special moment when one could witness gloomy face of PTI Chairman Imran Khan who left the courtroom twice, perhaps he was unhappy with his lawyer's performance. Then Jahangir Tareen equally followed his leader even his counsel who was assisting Naeem Bokhari was not standing next to him. Pensive looking Mr Tareen was also not happy with Mr Bokhari's performance when he was arguing on Monday. No one knew the reason, anyway in the courtroom.

Some 18 questions came from Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh, who perhaps read all the plethora of documents submitted by both parties before the court in this case. "Mr Bokhari you did not answer my single question—it is a serious question—perhaps you are not well-prepared," Justice Azmat observed. This correspondent witnessed many Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz legislatures who were discussing many issues with Sharifs' legal team. PM Advisor on Law and Justice Zafarullah Khan and Makhdoom Ali Khan, counsel for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were engaged in serious discussion when the court questioned issue of alleged money laundering cases about Sharifs brothers.

During the tea break, Makhdoom Ali Khan also shared interesting story of his struggling career with this correspondent who witnessed Sardar Ishaq Khan Khakhwani as taking notes of the proceedings. The decent looking Mr Khakwani was sitting ten feet away from Dr Shireen Mazari of PTI who were always found whispering into ears of Mr Tareen and Imran Khan. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who was heading the five-member-judge bench, asked 14 key questions. This correspondent also witnessed that the respondents’ counsels brought a dozen of smaller, medium and large size bags carrying books, judgments and documents in the court. They were super ready to start the arguments. Staffers of Pakistan Information Department kept holding chairs for their bosses namely Information Minister Maryam Aurangzaib and MNAs Danial Aziz and Talal Chaudhry. State Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman was sitting all alone in second-last-row of chair, taking notes of proceedings.

This correspondent attended all hearings (9 hearings before 2017 and the rest of four hearing this month) and counted key questions where the lordships wanted their answers from the respondents—Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz, Cap (retd) Mohammad Safdar and Ishaq Dar this week. Some key questions are: Did Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif own London property? Is Prime Minister an honest person? Did he misinform the nation, first on floor of the house and then his PTV address to the people? Was it a case of mis-declaration/misstatement? Where did Sharifs’ family park 12 million dirham after 1980? How was the debt settled by Sharifs? How did this money travel from Dubai to Jeddah after 1999? When was this money invested into real estate business shared with Al-Thani Royal family of Qatar? Was Sharifs’ family concealing their investments in Qatar? Was there any documentary proof in support of Premier Sharif’s statement that he parted his ways with the family business? Was Maryam Nawaz dependent on her father? Was the trust deed document original? Was there any written will of Mian Mohammad Sharif (late) where he wished for handing over property to Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz? Should we proceed the case against PM Sharif who was not named in Panama Leaks? Did the amount belong to Qatri Al-Thani family which bought London Flats? If yes then should we question Hassan and Hussain who did not own this amount before 2006? Did London Flats were bought before 2006? Should we summon PM Children? What was the real amount Sharifs’ family got under sale deal of Golf Steel Mill? How and when Jeddah Steel Mill established? What was its profit when money business was shifted to London? How was businesses distributed among Sharif brothers? Does any law exist to define ‘benami property’ in Pakistan? Was there any banking transaction involved in this whole juncture of buying London Flats, Golf and Jeddah Steel Mills and real estate business in Qatar? Is the trust deed issued by Minerva Trust disputed? Was this huge amount of money really laundered? What will be the implication on the State if PM is disqualified under Article 62-63? If something was illegally done abroad then what was its legal position in Pakistan? Is there any documentary proof of all these junctures with Sharifs’ family? Was there any contradiction in statements of PM Sharif and his kids? What was the importance of interviews Sharifs given to various national and international media houses about London Flats? Why did Sharifs conceal documents of their property? Was Financial Investigation Agency investigating alleged money laundering issue pertaining to two offshore companies owned by PM Sharif’s children? Was Maryam Nawaz beneficial owner or trustee of these companies? Who was dealing with these companies’ affairs in last eight years? What is the importance of Qatri Letter in this case? Will Prince Hammad of Al-Thani family appear before the court if invited? Can a fresh reference be filed against Sharifs brothers who allegedly used the Hudaibya Paper Mills as cover for money laundering during the late 1990s? What was the role of Ishaq Dar in this whole deal? Who is dealing with Mozak in Sharifs’ family?

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