Nawaz Sharif to appear before Panama Papers probe panel on 15 June
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Islamabad: Beleaguered Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif will appear before the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the high-profile ‘Panamagate’ graft case on Thursday to become the first sitting premier of the country to depose before such a panel.
JIT chief Wajid Zia, in a letter dated Saturday, asked the prime minister to appear before the six-member probe team at 11.00am (local time) on 15 June with all documents relevant to the case. The summon was issued to Sharif, 67, after he returned from his Kazakhstan visit where he attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.
Sharif, in Lahore, met with his close confidantes on Sunday to discuss the issue. After consulting with his aides, the prime minister has decided to honour the summon and appear before the JIT on Thursday, Dawn News reported.
Minister of state for information and broadcasting heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb, talking to some TV channels, said that the prime minister had received the JIT summons and in pursuance of the supreme court’s order of 20 April, he would ensure his presence accordingly.
The JIT, formed by the supreme court to probe the money trail of the property owned by the Sharif family in London, had questioned Sharif’s sons—Hussain and Hasan—last month over the family’s alleged improper business dealings. His eldest son Hussain was questioned five times while Hasan, the younger son, was summoned twice.
The court last year took up the case and issued a split decision over allegations of money laundering when Sharif was prime minister in 1990s. On 5 May, the supreme court set up a high-level six- member JIT to probe Sharif and his sons’ alleged corruption in the Panama Papers case.
The JIT is bound to complete the probe in 60 days unless it is granted additional time. It is for the first time that a sitting prime minister would appear before a high-level probe team traditionally constituted to investigate high-profile criminal cases. It is not yet clear that Sharif will be questioned for once or would be called again like his two sons. PTI