No room for extension, SC reminds Panama Papers JIT

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Hussain seeks commission to probe photo leak

Staff Reporter

Islamabad

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the prime minister’s family’s business dealings abroad submitted its second report before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
After reviewing the report, the three-member special bench of the apex court, formed to monitor the JIT’s proceedings, reiterated that the JIT would not be allowed extra time to complete the task assigned to it.
In a previous hearing, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan had warned Additional Director General Wajid Zia, head of the JIT, that the tasks assigned to the investigative body should be completed within the 60-day timeframe provided to the team.
“We will not allow extra time under any circumstances,” Justice Shiekh Azmat, a member of the bench, had said.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who heads the bench, observed that the first half of the JIT’s report contained a list of difficulties faced by the team.
He advised the JIT to submit a separate application listing the “problems, obstacles and difficulties” being faced in completing the assigned task.
“Based on the application, we will issue directions to the attorney general,” the judge said, adding that he hoped the team would complete the task in the allotted time.
The JIT told the court that investigations into the Sharif family’s business abroad were proceeding in the right direction.
During the hearing, the lawyer representing Hussain Nawaz, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s eldest son, asked the bench to hear yet another petition filed on behalf of his client as soon as possible.
The application, filed before the apex court on Wednesday, seeks the formation of a commission to investigate the ‘leaking’ of a CCTV image of Hussain’s appearance before the JIT.
It also seeks the court to prohibit the JIT from recording videos of the proceedings.
The court asked the JIT to file its response to Hussain Nawaz’s request and scheduled a hearing for June 12.
Hussain has appeared before the JIT for questioning four times. Speaking to the media after his last appearance on Saturday, Hussain said, “There is no evidence against us; no proof that can be brought forward.”
In his first appearance before the JIT, the premier’s elder son had refused to answer questions put forth by the investigative body, saying that the JIT’s status was ‘sub judice’ as he had already filed a petition before the apex court seeking the removal two of its constituents.
The apex court had, however, terminated his plea, and after each of the next two hearings, Hussain had told reporters that he had answered all questions put forward by the JIT.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah on Wednesday said that the Sharif family reserves the right to boycott the JIT. “The members of the JIT do not enjoy the same privileges as the judges of the apex court do,” he added while speaking to reporters in Lahore.
Although, the SC has constituted the JIT, the team members themselves are not the apex court, he said adding that the objections raised by Hussain Nawaz regarding two members of the JIT were not addressed.
“The objections should have been responded to,” he said.

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