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June 2017
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International News
Sharif's brother appears before Panama Papers probe panel
 
Islamabad, Jun 17 (PTI) Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's younger brother and Punjab chief minister was today questioned by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the high-profile Panamagate graft case against his family.

Shehbaz Sharif, 65, is the fourth member of the Sharif family to appear before the the JIT.

He was accompanied by his son, Hamza Shehbaz, Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to the JIT secretariat.

Shehbaz told the media persons that he provided the JIT all required details about the Panamagate case.

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Sharif was also questioned by the JIT.

The JIT was set up by the Supreme Court last month to investigate the Sharif family about its properties in London.

It 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.

The JIT is bound to complete the probe in 60 days unless it is granted additional time.

The JIT alleged that the government was using its official machinery to hamper its investigation.

The Supreme Court had asked the government to respond to the allegations against the departments.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister House accused the JIT of tapping phones and monitoring witnesses, which it said was in violation of the law and the Constitution.

Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf Ali raised serious doubts over JIT s performance, accusing it of spending too much time and energy on monitoring the media .

In a four-page response which he has submitted in the Supreme Court, Ashtar stated that the JIT application spanned more than 120 pages, containing news articles, screenshots of statements, tweets and messages gathered from social media.

"It appears that a lot of time and energy is being consumed in gathering this material. The JIT appears to have spent [too much] time watching talk shows, reading articles and monitoring tweets and messages on social media while arranging the same where necessary," according to the reply.

The AGP also informed the apex court about the replies submitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the Law Ministry, Intelligence Bureau and the Prime Minister s Secretariat over JIT s allegations of non-cooperation and tampering of records.

"These institutions vehemently deny [all the] allegations [levelled by] the JIT," he said.


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