Panamagate: ‘No record of Sharifs’ past business dealings’

Islamabad, Feb 15 (IANS) The Pakistan Supreme Court on Wednesday resumed the Panamagate case hearing, involving Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children, after a span of two weeks.

The hearing was adjourned due to unavailability of Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed on health grounds.

The case is about alleged illegal money laundering by Sharif in 1990s, when he twice served as Prime Minister, to purchase assets in London. The assets surfaced when Panama papers showed that they were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif’s children.

Salman Akram Raja, counsel of Sharif’s children, resumed his arguments and said that the record of the Sharif family’s 40 to 45 years old business dealings could not be produced as “it was lost during the 1999 martial law”, the Dawn reported.

“I will only argue this case based on the evidence present,” said Raja, who represented Hassan and Hussain Nawaz.

Counsel said that the available record has been provided in the court. He also said that it has been proved that London flats were not owned by the Prime Minister neither by the Sharif family in year 1999.

“There is no charge against the Prime Minister, so there is no charge against his children either,” he continued.

Raja argued that the flats in London were bought by the Al Thani family between 1993 and 1996. Raja said the Sharif family has ties with more Qatari royal families than one but he cannot disclose their names before the court due to certain reasons.

“The Sharif family did not own the flats in 1999, as Hussain Nawaz was given the bearer certificate to the flats by the Al Thani family,” Raja argued. He added that the shares for the flats were given to Minerva Financial Services in 2006.

Upon hearing this argument, Justice Azmat Saeed asked counsel to provide a paper trail for these transactions, and said, “You have been moving from one point to the other since the beginning, but have failed to provide any evidence in this regard.”

During the break in then hearing, Pakistan Tehreek Insaf party’s representative Fawad Chaudhry expressed the view that Sharif family did not answer a simple question, and added that the Sharif family referred to documents harking back to 1980s but failed to present those documents.

The apex court has adjourned the hearing till Thursday and Salman Akram Raja would be continuing his arguments to justify the money trail of Sharif family.