Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday appeared before the six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) looking into corruption charges and offshore holdings revealed by Panama paper leaks.
According to reports in Pakistani media, Sharif’s eldest son has already appeared before the JIT five times. However, the notice sent to Sharif summoned him as a ‘witness’ and not as ‘an accused’, claimed a report in Dawn.
Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, appeared before the JIT amidst heavy security. While Sharif’s lawyers were allowed to accompany him, he faced the JIT alone, say reports.
Shahbaz Sharif would also appear before the JIT on 17th of June and the son in law of Nawaz Sharif Captain (Retd.) Safdar is expected to face the JIT on 24th of June. Both sons of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz and Hasan Nawaz, have already been questioned by JIT last month. The six-member JIT would submit its report to the Supreme Court.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) had released a global list of people and companies having secret bank accounts overseas in 2016. The list included over 1,100 Indians also among whom film star Amitabh Bachchhan, Aishwarya Rai, DLF owner K P Singh and Gautam Adani’s elder brother Vinod Adani were some of the prominent names.
But India, despite the Government’s obsessive drive against corruption and black money, seems to have comfortably forgotten the Panama Papers whereas, Pakistan is following up on the leads.
It is also not the first time that the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be facing any judicial proceeding and neither he is the only Prime Minister to face this. The first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto underwent judicial proceedings and was sentenced to death in 1979. In 1990 Nawaz Sharif assumed the office of Prime Minister but after three years the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed his government. Nawaz Sharif challenged the decision in court and his government was restored.
In his second innings, as Prime Minister of Pakistan he had to face contempt of court proceedings in 1997. Yusuf Reza Geelani who became Prime Minister of Pakistan after the death of Benazir Bhutto had to resign in 2012 on issue of contempt of court for not writing letter to Swiss authorities against the then President Asif Ali Zardari as per court orders. Raja Pervez Ashraf who took charge after Yusuf Reza Geelani also had to appear before the court but was let off after giving an assurance that he would write to Swiss authorities for information.