Sharif’s PML-N threatens to reject Panama probe report
Islamabad, July 9 (PTI): Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party has threatened to reject the findings of a joint investigation team probing the Panamagate graft case against the Sharif family, threatening to push the country’s politics to a precipice as the panel is set to submit its report tomorrow.
The top leadership of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) yesterday made it clear that the ruling party will not accept the findings of the JIT if the statements of a former Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani are not made part of the report.
Four federal ministers considered close to Sharif, 67, in a press conference raised questions on the functioning of the JIT, set up by the Supreme Court in May to investigate the Sharif family about its properties in London, and expressed reservations on the process of investigation.
“The JIT report will be compromised without his (Qatari prince) statements and we will not accept it,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said in a joint statement.
Al-Thani in two letters written to the Supreme Court said that late Muhammad Shairf, father of Nawaz Sharif, had invested 12 million dirham in real estate business of the royal family.
According to letters by the Qatari royal, the money invested by late Sharif was returned to the family with profits. The Sharifs have maintained that the same money was used to buy properties in London.
However, opposition parties allege that the London properties was bought through ill-gotten money in 1990s when Sharif served twice as Pakistan’s prime minister.
Local media had earlier reported that two members of the JIT had gone to Qatar to record his statement but it later emerged that they had gone to UAE for official work.
It is for the first time that PML-N has indicated that it might reject the report. But any such action may result in widespread unrest in the country.
Sharif’s nemesis Imran Khan had already threatened that he would protest if the government tried to derail the probe.
The current crisis started after the Panama Papers showed that Sharif’s children owned the London properties and manage them through offshore companies.
The six-member JIT set up in May by the Supreme Court is investigating the Sharifs for allegedly failing to provide the trail of money used to buy properties in London in 1990s.
The JIT questioned Sharif, his daughter and two sons, and several of his family members, close aides and top current and former officials.
It is expected to submit it report to the Supreme Court tomorrow at the completion of a 60-day deadline.