ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the joint investigation team, probing Sharif family’s offshore assets, to file a reply on Hussain Nawaz’ plea regarding the leaking of his interrogation photo.

The JIT also filed a progress report to the three-judge Special Bench on implementation of SC’s April 20 judgement in Panama leaks case. The bench reminded the team it has to complete their work within the 60-day timeline.

Earlier during the hearing, Hussain Nawaz filed a plea in the apex court seeking formation of a commission, led by a retired or serving judge, to probe the leak of his picture taken during interrogation by the JIT at the Federal Judicial Academy (FJA).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s eldest son, through his counsel Khawaja Haris, also requested the apex court to immediately stop the investigation team from recording videos during interrogation.

In the plea, the lawyer maintained that “the photograph released is aimed at humiliating the petitioner and is a violation of his fundamental right to human dignity as guaranteed to him under Article 14 of the Constitution”.

Khawaja Haris pleaded the bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, for forming a commission to inquire into the circumstances leading to the leaking of the petitioner’s “video” on the social media and to identify the person or persons responsible for the same.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed that it was not video recording but a screenshot. “It is a static [still] picture,” he remarked.

The counsel replied that yes it was not a video clip, but said the photo was made from the recording as time and date was mentioned on it.

The bench ordered the JIT head, FIA Additional Director General Wajid Zia, to file reply on Hussain Nawaz application by Monday (June 12).

Progress report

The JIT chairman Wajid Zia and other members of the team who appeared before the court submitted reports on their work in three sealed envelopes. Each envelope contained a report in book form, with each book comprising approximately 400 to 500 pages.

The judges after examining the reports ordered Wajid Zia to re-seal them and submit those in the SC Registrar’s office.

Besides the progress on the investigation, the JIT reports reportedly also mentioned some problems being faced by the members.

Justice Ejaz asked the team to enlist and explain their problems in a separate application. “We will ask the attorney general about the(se) reservations and impediments.”

PM sons summoned again

The joint investigation team yesterday again summoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s sons Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz for further investigation.

According to the summons, Hussain will appear before the JIT tomorrow while Hassan will appear on June 10 (Saturday) to face questions on the details of their family’s offshore assets and financial dealings.

It would be the fifth appearance of Hussain Nawaz before the JIT while Hassan will be appearing for the second time.

Sources said that earlier the team had asked Hussain to provide details about ownership of Mayfair flats of Sharif family in London. Furthermore, he has been asked to present record of Azizia Steel Mills.

Hassan Nawaz, on June 2 had appeared before the JIT with a bundle of files to record his statement. The sources claimed that he also submitted some documents to the JIT regarding the Panama Papers case.

In this connection, the sources said that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had also submitted the record of Hudabiya Paper Mills case - including the confessional statement of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar regarding money laundering.

More on Hussain’s plea

During Wednesday’s hearing of the Supreme Court, Khawaja Haris informed the Special Bench that on the last date he had submitted that the JIT was video recording the examination and interrogation of various persons summoned by it.

He contended that the video recording of a witness’s statement was in derogation of both the letter and spirit of sections 161 and 162 of CrPc.

The video recording at the time of recording of statement/interrogation also put undue pressure on the witness, making him cautious, he said.

It is also not sure that whether the proceedings are being video-recorded all the time or only at intervals and as per the convenience of the JIT members, the counsel submitted.

He said there was a need to investigate whether one or all the members of the JIT, or some person(s) working under [them] or at their behest had leaked Hussain’s photo on social media.

Releasing of the picture on the social media has raised questions about the motives of the person or persons behind this sordid affair, he maintained.

The photograph is the outcome of spite, and appears, on the face of it, to be directed towards establishing the absolute authority and control of the JIT on one hand and helplessness and utter surrender of the petitioner before the JIT, Haris said.

It is aimed at humiliating the petitioner and is in violation of his fundamental rights to human dignity under Article 14 of the Constitution, he said.

“It also appears to be directed towards giving a message to those who are yet to be summoned by the JIT that they would be at the absolute mercy of the JIT members, and that they should leave their dignity and self-respect at home,” read the application filed by Hussain.

It also states that the JIT members have been pressurising every witness, who has appeared before it, to change their statement and even to implicate specific persons in wrongdoing, and that too under threat of arrest, prosecution and long-term incarceration.

At the outset of the proceeding Khawaja Haris, while filing the application, requested the bench to order the office to number it. Justice Ejaz, while accepting the application asked the JIT head to file a reply.

The bench ordered the JIT head, FIA Additional Director General Wajid Zia, to file reply on Hussain Nawaz application by Monday (June 12).