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    Wednesday, May 24, 2017

    Cat and mouse game with JIT has begun by Sharifs

    As the Joint Investigation Team on the Panama case is geared up to collect evidence against the prime minister and his children, the ruling Sharifs are all out to play cat and mouse game with the investigators.
    To get the JIT on the back foot, already objections have been raised by the Sharifs not
     only on some members of the Joint Investigation Team but also on its working. On Tuesday, the objections over the JIT came from the PM’s son, Hussain Nawaz, and his cousin, Tariq Shafi. Today, the prime minister’s spokesman, Dr Musaddaq Malik, showed his reservations on the working of the JIT. Dr Malik said that the JIT’s working was not in line with the law of the land.
    This situation is upsetting for the JIT, whose two members have been named as biased by the Sharifs. Sources said that following these objections already made public, the two officers -- Amir Aziz of SBP and Bilal Rasool of SECP -- are disturbed over this situation.
    In the past, the Sharif family had opted to forgo its defence over the maintainability of the petitions filed against them in the Panama case before the apex court. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as well as his party leaders, had also announced that they would present all documents and details about their wealth, businesses and properties,
    However before the JIT, the Sharifs and their representatives now intend to restrict the probe within the parameters of law and the Constitution. It means that the concessions, immunities and defence available to any defendant/accused as per the law of the land, would be availed by the Sharifs. Such a stance on the part of the Sharifs will make the probe difficult for the JIT.
    It is said that the strategy, to be adopted by the Sharifs in regard to the JIT, is being decided by their lawyers. However, the government’s legal minds say that under the law, neither the sons of the prime minister could be asked about their foreign businesses for being non-residents nor the business dealings of the late Mian Sharif, father of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, could be reopened and questioned.
    In this situation, it is said, the Sharifs will share only those documents which suit their case. If summoned, the prime minister and his sons would appear before the JIT but their response would be calculated and to the point. They won’t be forthcoming before the JIT.
    Legally speaking, it is explained by a government’s legal mind, the Sharifs' wealth, including Saudi-Dubai mills and London flats and the offshore companies, have never been in the name of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It is said that it was deliberately done to save Nawaz Sharif from controversies relating to the Sharifs’ wealth and businesses.
    For the last few days, the government, as a strategy, is bringing pressure on the JIT. On Monday last, PML-N MNA Talat Chaudhry expressed reservations about the proceedings of the JIT and said that the prime minister will exercise all his rights which he had voluntarily withdrawn from the Supreme Court's proceedings.
     “We hold the right to exercise the constitutional rights which are given to every Pakistani citizen. We hope that the Supreme Court's JIT will not apply different laws for Nawaz Sharif. We didn’t take immunity before nor now,” he said, adding, “Hassan and Hussain Nawaz should be given the rights which are enjoyed by any non-resident Pakistani.”
    A day later, Husain Nawaz approached the apex court with his reservations about the JIT. Consequently,  the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday admitted for hearing his petition raising objection against two JIT members -- Amir Aziz of SBP and Bilal Rasool of SECP. A special bench of the Supreme Court will hear the petition on May 29.
    On Tuesday last, Prime Minister’s cousin Tariq Shafi had moved a complaint against alleged ‘misbehaviour’ of some members of the JIT. In his complaint filed to the JIT’s head Wajid Zia, Shafi alleged that he was harassed by some JIT members. On Wednesday, Shafi’s letter was leaked to the media to fuel the controversy surrounding the JIT. 
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    Item Reviewed: Cat and mouse game with JIT has begun by Sharifs Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Abdul Sattar Qamar