ISLAMABAD: As the Panamagate case hearing resumed on Thursday in the Supreme Court, the counsel for the Sharif family admitted before the apex court that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter Maryam Nawaz owned four flats in Mayfair, London for at least six months in 2006.
Sharifs' counsel Salman Akram Raja told the five-judge bench - which is hearing a slew of petitions filed against the ruling family over alleged corruption - that Maryam had been a legal beneficiary of the London flats in the upscale Park Lane neighbourhood from February to July 2006 as she possessed bearer shares regarding ownership being a trustee.
He claimed, however, that in July, the shares were registered in the name of Minerva Services Limited, a company which the premier's family previously identified as a "service provider" to Nielsen and Nescoll - offshore companies owned by the PM's son Hussain Nawaz.
Upon this, Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh called for documentary evidence which could show the authorised representatives of Minerva Services. In his response, the Sharifs' counsel said Minerva was authorised by a trustee service company which is now owned by the PM's son.
Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan expressed his surprise that the Sharif family seem to have acquired expensive apartments in London without any documentary evidence to establish ownership or a money trail for the purchases.
The judge also lamented that what the court should do when the petitioner, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was not capable of providing corroborative evidence to establish their case and the ruling family's documents were unreliable. Meanwhile, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who is heading the bench, observed that the court was still conducting proceedings of an adversarial nature, but after completion of arguments by counsels of both parties, it will see whether inquisitorial proceedings should be initiated.
Justice Khosa asked Raja if he was telling the court that the Sharif family did not possess any relevant documents and insisted that the Qatari prince should be asked to explain how the Sharifs acquired the London properties.
The SC judge went on to add that the ruling family was making a gamble which could go either way. Justice Khosa also wondered what would be the spirit of accountability if the Sharifs failed to produce the necessary documents in court.
The counsel argued that the apex court cannot give a direct verdict against the ruling family until due process is followed at the relevant forum. "The SC is not the proper forum to give a declaration against [them]," Raja said. After Raja concluded his arguments, the top court later summoned the NAB and FBR chairmen to appear in person at the next hearing, which is scheduled for February 21.
The bench also directed the NAB prosecutor general to submit the complete record of the 17-year-old Hudaibiya Paper Mills investigation into the Sharifs during the next hearing.
Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Thursday claimed that decision of Panama Papers case will come in next week.
Talking to media outside Supreme Court in Islamabad, he said it is our victory that for the first time ever, accountability of the powerful is being held and termed it as a real change.
Imran khan added that Sharif family's council once again questioned the jurisdiction of apex court. Sharif family admitted in court that Qatari prince is their business partner, and it is corruption to award government contracts to a business partner, he added.
Khan told media that SC has termed the Qatari letter a story. He said the real money trail is Finance Minister Ishaq Dar's confessional statement. Khan claimed that the actual documents of Sharif family are abroad.
PTI chief also said that Pakistan's biggest problem at the moment is that its people do not pay taxes.
Imran Khan added that Salman Akram said Maryam Nawaz were trustees for only four months. Hussain Nawaz said in an interview in 2016 that Maryam Nawaz was trustee, Khan added.
PTI chairman asked Sharif family to sue International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) if the documents presented by it are forged or fake.
He told media that SC has summoned chairmen of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday and the case has been adjourned till then.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders on Thursday said that counsels of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his sons have conflicting stance in Panama Leaks case.
Talking to media outside Supreme Court (SC), Fawad Chaudhry said that documents submitted in SC disclosed that Nawaz has no link with offshore companies.
He said that Maryam Nawaz is owner of Minerva Company. He also claimed that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) even doesn't possess record of 2006. Salman Akram Raja vehemently opposed formation of commission, he added.
Fawad Chaudhry said that verdict in Panama Leaks case will emerge within ten days. Meanwhile, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb on Thursday said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif enjoys the trust and confidence of people of Pakistan who elected him to lead the country.
Talking to media outside the Supreme Court in Islamabad, the State Minister said Nawaz Sharif has brought fortune to the country in every sector including defence, road infrastructure, healthcare and energy.
She said the counsels of Prime Minister and his sons presented all verified documents of their assets and businesses and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) could not produce any single evidence countering these documents.
Marriyum Aurangzaib urged Chairman PTI, Imran Khan to concentrate on welfare of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Later, Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary said the PTI is only mocking the state institutions and has no grounds for the Case.
Daniyal Aziz said that Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz are doing business abroad. He said that10-12 new questions stem every day in the court.
"Court says documents submitted by PTI are not worth hearing," he added. Daniya Aziz said that Panama Leaks case is against one family. He also termed PTI chief Imran Khan as a master of U-turn.
Meanwhile, PML-N's Maiza Hameed has also said that PTI has failed to produce any evidence in Panama Papers case.