ISLAMABAD – Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif arrived at the federal judicial academy to appear before the six-member Joint Investigation Team formulated to probe offshore assets of ruling Sharif family, a short while ago.
The Punjab chief minister reached the secretariat amid tight security accompanied by finance minister Ishaq Dar and interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan who also drove his vehicle.
The Joint Investigation Team had summoned the Shehbaz Sharif, brother of prime minister Nawaz Sharif today (Wednesday) at 11 A.M with all the relevant record.
Sources close to the chief minister disclosed that the Shehbaz Sharif would appear before the JIT as a witness.
They said the JIT was likely to ask Mr Sharif questions related to the establishment of the Gulf Steel Mills by his family in the UAE and its sale.
Since Mr Sharif is one of the directors of Hudaibya Paper Mills, the JIT may also cross-check with him the information it has so far gathered regarding the Hudaibya reference as well as old litigation between the Paper Mills and Al-Tawfeeq Investment Co, the sources further said.
Today’s session of Punjab chief minister is the first one with the high-profile investigative team which also summoned prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday.
The Joint Investigation Team summoned prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday and recorded his statement for almost three hours.
Talking to media outside FJA, after the session, Nawaz Sharif said that he and his family offered themselves for accountability. He added that the present process of accountability has been extended to period beyond his birth.
“I have presented my stance before the JIT. All sources of my assets were already submitted to relevant authorities” the PM observed.
“I appeared before the investigation team as we are equally accountable to the institutions, the PM said, adding that today was a milestone for the rule of law.
PM Nawaz Sharif said that soon after Panama Leaks, he had offered himself for accountability. He stressed, “The people of Pakistan need to understand that whatever is happening today has nothing to do with any corruption or embezzlement of the national exchequer, but it is the personal and private business of our family, that is being dragged”. All conspiracies against him and his family would foil, he said.
He added that he held office of prime minister thrice and remained chief minister of Punjab and passed several development projects in country, but there are no charges of embezzlement in national kitty on him.
He warned that there will JIT of 200 million people going to be held next year when they [people] will select those who have worked for the development of the country.
Hussain Nawaz, elder son of prime minister Nawaz Sharif appeared before the Joint Investigation Team for five times while his brother Hassan had two sessions with the team.
Talking to media while leaving the judicial academy after second appearance, Hussain Nawaz said: “However, I decided to face the JIT and respond to all of their questions. I am confident that the investigation will prove our stance; that we have not done anything illegal,”
On third appearance, Nawaz said that he will appear before the investigation team whenever he will be called by the JIT.
“We have the same assets as we had during tenure of former president Pervez Musharraf,” Nawaz said, adding that fake cases were registered against them in Musharraf’s tenure.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had announced the verdict of landmark Panama case on April 20, in which it ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team to probe the offshore assets of Sharif family.
Representatives from Intra Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, State Bank of Pakistan, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and National Accountability Bureau are part of the team headed by Wajid Zia of Federal Investigation Agency.
In its judgement, the Supreme Court had also outlined the scope of the proposed JIT, which would probe how the Gulf Steel Mills in UAE came into being, what led to its sale, what happened to its liabilities, where did its sale proceeds end up, how did they reach Jeddah, Qatar and the UK, whether Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz in view of their ages at the time had the means to possess and purchase the flats, and whether the sudden appearance of the letters of Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani of the Qatar was a myth or a reality.
The court also asked how bearer shares translated into the four upscale flats in London, who was the real and beneficial owner of Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, how did Hill Metal Establishment come into existence, where did the money for Flagship Investment Limited and other companies set up or taken over by Hassan Nawaz and where did the working capital for such companies come from and where do the huge sums running into millions gifted by Hussain Nawaz to the prime minister drop in from, Dawn News reported.