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April 21, 2017

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Maryam given clean chit

Maryam given clean chit

ISLAMABAD: Whatever the consequences of the Panama Papers judgment may be, the one person who has been given clean chit by the Supreme Court (SC) is none other than Maryam Nawaz Sharif.

Maryam, the political heir of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was one of the main targets of the opposition parties and petitioners but the  court’s judgment has cleared her on almost all counts. She is safe so far until something adverse come out against her in the Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) findings.

Maryam has been declared not dependent of her father by the apex court nor did the court say that she had any beneficial ownership in the Mayfair properties.

Moreover, Maryam’s husband Capt (R) Safdar and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar have also been cleared by the Supreme Court for not having any link with the offshore companies and disqualification arising thereof.

Though the SC, in Panama Papers case, has formed a JIT to investigate the money matters of Sharif family, the court has only directed the PM and his two sons to appear before the JIT not Maryam Nawaz.

“As far as the issue regarding respondent No6 namely Maryam Safdar allegedly being a ‘dependent’ of her father namely Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is concerned, I have found that the material produced before us sufficiently established that respondent No6 was a married lady having grown up children, she was a part of a joint family living in different houses situated in the same compound, she contributed towards some of the expenses incurred by the joint family, she submitted her independent tax returns, she owned sizeable and valuable property in her own name, she was capable of surviving on her own and, thus, she could not be termed or treated a ‘dependent’ of her father merely because she periodically received gifts from her father and brothers”, the judgment says. It adds, “We, therefore, have no hesitation to hold that a question of this nature in the absence of undisputed evidence cannot be decided by this court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.”

Regarding beneficial ownership of Maryam Nawaz in Avenfield flats and offshore companies thereof, the judgment says, ‘there are two stumbling blocks in our way to grant such declaration. In the first place, we are not convinced at this stage and on the basis of material before us to hold conclusively that Respondent No6 (Maryam Nawaz) was a dependent of Respondent No1 (PM). In addition, and notwithstanding the fact whether or not Respondent No6 was a dependent of Respondent No1, it cannot at this stage, on the basis of material before us conclusively be held that Respondent No6 is not the beneficial owner of the Mayfair properties. Both these facts need to be established before Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution gets attracted in this case.’

Regarding Captain Safdar and Ishaq Dar, the Panama Papers case decision held that ‘having thus considered we sum up the case as under: no aboveboard or undisputed documentary evidence has been brought on the record to show that respondent No1 defaulted in the payment of tax as far as his assets as declared in the tax returns are concerned; nothing significant has come forth against respondents No9 (Capt (R) Safdar) and 10 (Ishaq Dar) as could justify the issuance of the direction asked for.’

 

 

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