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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Panama papers: A long road to Indictment..?

News Desk |

Pakistan’s National Accountability Court (NAB) finally indicted former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain Safdar over corruption references filed by the graft court in-line with the unanimous decision of the country’s Supreme Court in the famous “Panama Case” of July 28.

But this did not happen overnight, or in the past few weeks; this indictment has a long road behind it, almost 18 month long political and public discourse unique not only in the history of Pakistan, or in South Asia, but in the history of whole Muslim world. Never before in Muslim world a powerful potentate has been brought down through an open transparent legal process.

Never before in Muslim world a powerful potentate has been brought down through an open transparent legal process.

Sequence of Events since April 2016

GVS takes back a look at the sequence of events since the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) made 11.5 million secret documents available to the public for the very first time in April 2016.

Eight off-shore companies were reported to have ties with the family of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif.

According to documents available on the ICIJ website, the prime minister`s children — Maryam, Hassan and Hussain “were owners or had the right to authorize transactions for several companies”. The revelations gave a new momentum to corruption allegations that had been damaging the party and the Sharif family since decades.

Read more: The NAB vs Dar game continues as PML-N lend full support…

4th April 2016: Imran Khan_ the cricketer-turned-politician pounced on what he called a god sent to evict his arch nemesis from power- claiming that the papers vindicate his long-held stance regarding the Sharifs.

Maryam Nawaz tweets what seemingly is a statement from the Sharif family spokesman.

  • They call the revelations made under the Panama Papers leaks, a “distortion of information” and hogwash.
  •  The statement goes on to clarify that “Maryam Nawaz is not a beneficiary or owner of any of the companies” named in the leaked documents.

On April 5, 2016, an under-pressure Sharif announces a probe in an address to the nation from the Pakistan Television (PTV) headquarters.

  • Sharif says he is open to the formation of a judicial commission to probe his family`s alleged finances in offshore tax-havens.
  • Sharif assured the country he is open to legal scrutiny, adding that he would resign if allegations are proven.

On April 10, 2016, Imran Khan wants the government to promptly form an inquiry commission led by the serving Chief Justice of Pakistan, Anwar Zaheer Jamali.

  • The government, on the other hand, is keen on having ex-Supreme Court judges populate the bench.

Read more: PML-N harassment of NAB Court echoes 1997 attack on Supreme Court..!

On April 13, 2016, five ex-SC judges refuse to lead the inquiry. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan expresses regret.

On April 14, 2016, Prime Minister Sharif arrives in London for a medical check-up lasting five days.

On April 16, 2016, a government team headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar finalizes the terms of reference (ToRs) for the proposed inquiry commission being formed to investigate the Panama Papers leaks.

On April 22, 2016, Sharif delivers the second address to the nation in which he says that his government has decided to formally ask then Chief Justice of Pakistan to set up a judicial commission for investigations into Panama Papers leak. The opposition refuses to accept the commission.

Demands for the resignation of Nawaz Sharif gain traction; PTI and PPP file petitions in the ECP seeking the disqualifications of Nawaz Sharif.

On June 24, 2016, the PTI files a petition with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking disqualification of Sharif for allegedly concealing his assets.

On June 27, 2016, the PPP also petitions the ECP to disqualify the prime minister and his family members.

  • On July 9, 2016, Sharif returns home from London after 48 days.

On July 12, 2016, Sharif is advised to devise a plan to counter PTI chief Imran Khan`s propaganda.

On July 20, 2016, the opposition decides not to negotiate anymore with the government over the ToR issue.

On August 3, 2016, Imran Khan lashes out and says that not a single institution had moved or served notice on those whose names had appeared in the Panama Papers for allegedly committing money laundering and tax evasion.

On August 24, 2016, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Emir Sirajul Haq files his party`s long-awaited petition on the Panama Papers leaks in the Supreme Court.

On August 29, 2016, the PTI files a petition before the Supreme Court seeking Sharif`s disqualification.

On September 25, 2016, Imran Khan urges his followers to commence a Long March from September 30 to Sharif`s Raiwind estate in order to put pressure on state institutions to act judiciously on the Panama Papers issue.

On September 30, 2016, the PTI protests outside Sharif residence, demands Nawaz`s resignation.

On October 7, 2016, PTI chairman Imran Khan calls on party workers to lay siege to Islamabad on October 30, telling them to paralyze the capital until Sharif resigns or presents himself for accountability.

Read more: PTI to NAB Chief: ‘Act before we do’

On October 10, 2016, Imran Khan asks the court for an early hearing.

On October 20, 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan starts accepting petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf, Jamhoori Watan Party, Jamaat-i-Islami and others to begin the proceedings.

Read more: Panama Papers journalist Murdered in Malta

On October 28, 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan forms a larger five-bench to hear petitions regarding Panama.

On October 31, 2016, Imran Khan calls on supporters to gather in Islamabad, but the numbers aren`t impressive. The government places shipping containers to block off routes from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa into Islamabad.

On November 1, 2016, the Supreme Court of Pakistan asks the government and the protesting PTI to present their respective ToRs, in case the court decided to constitute an inquiry commission on Panamagate.

On November 2, 2016, Imran Khans PTI holdsthanksgiving` rally.

On November 7, 2016, Sharif`s children submit replies to the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

On November 30, 2016, PTIs lead counsel in the Panamagate case Naeem Bukhari tells the Supreme Court that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had forged his cousin Tariq Shafis signatures on documents.

On December 9, 2016, Pakistan`s Chief Justice Zaheer Jamali is scheduled to retire. A five-judge larger bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa has been constituted by the Supreme Court to resume hearing of the Panama Papers case from January 4, 2017.

On December 31, 2016, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children submit documents in the Supreme Court notifying a change of counsel in the Panamagate case.

Read more: Why are NAB references against Sharif family important?

On January 4, 2017, a five-member bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, is appraised about details of the offices held by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his political career.

On January 6, 2017, Members of the Supreme Court bench hearing the Panamagate case express divergent opinions over which side shouldered the burden of proof.

On January 12, 2017, two different money trails puzzle the apex court bench.

On January 13, 2017, the BBC reports that the Sharif family`s four flats in London were purchased in the 1990s.

On January 17, 2017, The prime minister`s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif, submits her reply to the court.

On January 23, 2017, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung tweets documents to help Pakistanis form their own opinion on the role of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif`s daughter in Panamagate.

On January 26, 2017, a second letter is floated by Hussain Nawazs counsel,clarifyingSharifs investment in Gulf Steel Mills. The letter is accompanied by transaction details and auditor`s reports regarding the Gulf Steel Mills in Dubai and the Azizia Steel Mills in Jeddah.

Read more: Nawaz’s short & sweet appearances in NAB; where is the supremacy…

On January 27, 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan orders the National Accountability Bureau to submit Hudaibiya reference record on Finance Minister Ishaq Darsconfession`.

On January 31, 2017, the Supreme Court of Pakistan expresses concern over NAB, Qatari letters.

On February 15, 2017, the PTI furnishes new evidence. The apex court bench also postpones day-to-day proceedings after Justice Saeed had to be rushed to the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology following chest pains on January 31.

On February 16, 2017, Maryams lawyers admits that she was the trustee of the London flats for six months between February and July 2006.

On February 18, 2017, PTI Chairman Imran Khan submits an affidavit to the SC, asking it to ignore the two Qatari letters produced by the Sharif family as evidence of their stance in the case.

On February 20, 2017, record of Hudaibiya, Raiwind references submitted to SC. On February 22, 2017, Supreme Court cautions the Attorney General of Pakistan to argue as the attorney general and not become a party to the case.

On February 23, 2017, Panamagate hearings conclude; judgement awaited.

On April 20, 2017, Supreme Court issues a split verdict on Panamagate case, orders formation of six-man joint investigation team (JIT) comprising Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), MI (Military Intelligence), NAB, SECP and SBP officials. The JIT was led by FIAs Additional Director General Wajid Zia, a grade 21 officer, and included the SBPs Amer Aziz, SECP Executive Director Bilal Rasool, NAB Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, ISIs Brig Muha­mmad Nauman Saeed and MIs Brig Kamran Khurshid.

On July 10, 2017, the JIT tendered a 275-page report on the Sharif family`s wealth to the Supreme Court. The apex court said it would resume hearing the Panamagate case starting July 17.

Read more: Is NAB really capable of initiating meaningful investigation against Nawaz?

Sharif was defiant, saying he won’t resign. The PML-N started a tirade against the JIT

On July 17, 2017, Supreme Court resumes hearing Panamagate case.

On July 21, 2017, Supreme Court reserves judgment in Panamagate case.

On July 28, 2017, Supreme Court delivers a verdict in Panamagate case- disqualifying Nawaz Sharif and ordering the institution of references against him, his children- Hasan..Hussain ….Maryam and Son-in-Law Capt Safdar