The joint investigation team (JIT) constituted to implement the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case has sought the asset declarations of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The JIT reached full strength after the member from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) joined it on Thursday. Thereafter, the team formally started summoning the relevant record from the ministries and authorities concerned.
Sources privy to the development told that the JIT wrote to the ECP on Wednesday, seeking the asset declarations of the PM and his son-in-law, who is also a member of the National Assembly.
According to sources, the JIT sought the asset declarations of PM Sharif from 1999, but the ECP expressed its inability to provide those, since the law making submission of asset details to the ECP mandatory was introduced in 2002.
Since Mr Sharif was sent into exile after the military coup of 1999 and did not contest elections until 2013, the ECP did not have details of his assets until that year.
The ECP’s secrecy branch, sources said, had prepared a file containing Mr Sharif’s asset declarations from 2013 to 2016.
According to the JIT’s terms of reference, it is mandated to probe how the Gulf Steel Mill come into being; what led to its sale; what happened to its liabilities; how did they reach Jeddah, Qatar and the UK; whether Hussain and Hassan Nawaz had the means in the early 1990s to possess and purchase the London flats; whether the sudden appearance of the letters of Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani is a myth or a reality; who, in fact, is the real and beneficial owner of the Nielsen Enterprises Ltd and Nescoll Ltd; how did Hill Metal Establishment come into existence; where did the money for Flagship Investment Ltd and other companies set up/taken over by the son of the PM come from; and where do the huge sums gifted by Hussain Nawaz to Nawaz Sharif come from.
The apex court has already empowered the JIT to summon Prime Minister Sharif and both his sons, as and when required.
Since the apex court asked the JIT to examine the record available with NAB and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the team has already begun scrutinising documents including material related to Hudabiya Paper Mills corruption reference.
NAB Prosecutor General Waqas Qadeer Dar had submitted the record to the apex court during the hearing of the Panamagate case, along with the confessional statement of incumbent Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who had turned approver against Mr Sharif.
However, Mr Dar had later claimed that he was forced to sign the confession.