News Analysis |
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has said on Thursday that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif remained unable to satisfy the investigators regarding his sources of income. NAB’s prosecutor Wasiq Malik also said that the Al-Azizia reference could be traced back to the Panama Papers case, which was heard by the Supreme Court (SC).
“This was a white-collar crime and hence this case should be viewed in accordance with a special law,” he said. According to media reports, the NAB prosecutor said that Nawaz Sharif could not account for his assets before the SC, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), and NAB and he admitted to owning these assets before the apex court for the first time.
The court also said that being the prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif’s conduct should have been “above board and impeccable”.
The accused were given all the opportunity to defend their case but they could not satisfy the court, Malik added. “The money trail presented in the case proved to be fake,” the NAB prosecutor continued, adding that the assets had been acknowledged. Nawaz served as a public office holder and his children own billions of rupees worth of assets; the question remains: how were these assets acquired? Malik questioned.
Formation of JIT to Probe into Panama Papers Saga
It is worth mentioning here that the apex court established a six-member JIT, comprising Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia as head, Amer Aziz of the State Bank of Pakistan, SECP Executive Director Communication Bilal Rasool, Irfan Naeem Mangi of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Brigadier (retd) Nauman Saeed of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Brigadier Kamran Khurshid from the Military Intelligence to probe into Panama Papers saga.
The JIT was made after the then Nawaz’s political nightmare Imran Khan threatened to lock down the federal capital if Nawaz did not resign from his post. In a politically tense situation, the apex court took up the matter and formed a JIT to look into the matter.
Nawaz Sharif; “Neither Honest Nor Truthful”
Later on, the court said in the Panamagate judgement that “it is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from Capital FZE Jebel Ali, UAE in his nomination papers filed for the General Elections held in 2013 in terms of Section 12(2)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (ROPA), and having furnished a false declaration under solemn affirmation respondent No. 1 Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is not honest in terms of Section 99(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and therefore he is disqualified to be a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).”
NAB’s prosecutor Wasiq Malik also said that the Al-Azizia reference could be traced back to the Panama Papers case, which was heard by the Supreme Court (SC).
After the verdict of the SC, ousted PM filed a review petition to seek some concession from the court. The court, however, refused to give ‘concession’ or ‘leniency’ to Nawaz for ‘deliberately’ concealing assets. The court’s order reads as “the petitioner deliberately concealed his assets and willfully and dishonestly made a false declaration on solemn affirmation in his nomination papers.
It is not something to be looked at with a casual eye and outlook. It is not only a legal duty but a qualifying test for the candidates who in the later days preside over the destiny of the people. This duty has to be performed without a taint of misrepresentation. This test has to be qualified without resorting to unfair means. Any concession at this stage or any leniency to the candidates or the person elected would be a prelude to a catastrophe in politics, which has already had enough of it.”
The court also said that being the prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif’s conduct should have been “above board and impeccable”. But the court stated with great dismay that he (Nawaz Sharif) had not been “fair and forthright” and never came up with the ‘whole truth’. “[T]he petitioner [Nawaz Sharif] has not been fair and forthright in answering any of the queries made during the course of the hearing. He never came forth with the whole truth.
He tried to fool the people inside and outside the Parliament.” The court went on and expressed its pleasure by saying that he even tried to fool the Court without realizing that “you can fool all the people for some of the time, some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.
NAB has repeatedly maintained that the case needs to be traced back to the Panama Papers case, which was heard by the SC. In Panama Paper’s judgment, the SC has already given its verdict and dismissed the review petition. As a matter of fact, Nawaz Sharif who could not satisfy the investigators is likely to face some tough times ahead. He is yet to offer the evidence to prove that his assets are not beyond the known sources.