ISLAMABAD  -  While recording her statement in the accountability court regarding the Avenfield reference, Maryam Nawaz Sharif Thursdays expressed her deep reservations over the formation of the joint investigation team constituted by the Supreme Court to investigate the Panama Papers case against Sharif family.

She answered queries in the Avenfield reference pertaining to Sharif family’s London flats, one of the three references filed by the National Accountability Bureau in the light of the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Papers case.

Maryam in her statement repeated the same concerns which had already been expressed by her father and former primer Nawaz Sharif during his statement before the accountability court.

She termed the inclusion of two officials of intelligence agencies in the JIT inappropriate and questioned the competence of the entire team.

“As regards the appointment of Brig (r) Numan Saeed from ISI and Brig Kamran Khursheed from Military Intelligence, it was inappropriate with obvious fallouts on the JIT proceedings, given the civil-military tension that had plagued our country throughout its 70-plus years of history,” Maryam said.

Answering a question about the JIT’s requests to different countries, she said none of the MLAs purportedly sent by the JIT to the United Kingdom, the British Virgin Island, Saudi Arabia and the UAE had been produced before this court.

She argued neither any such MLA nor any act of commission or omission in response thereto can be taken into consideration while deciding the instant case.

“A formal application for supply of Volume-X containing the record of MLAs was moved on my behalf before commencement of the trial, but it was opposed by the prosecution and the same was dismissed by this honourable court. Hence, any reference to use of record of the said MLAs would be violative of my fundamental rights to fair trial guaranteed under the Article 10 (A) of the Constitution.”

While answering questions pertaining to the establishment of Gulf Steel Mills, its operations and sale proceeds, Maryam expressed her ignorance and informed the court that she was hardly one-year-old when the said mill was established, adding she had no idea about the operations of the mill and how its shares were disposed of.

“Arrangement for transfer of shares and appointment as a director of any member of Sharif family used to be the exclusive domain of my late grandfather Mian Muhammad Sharif as he was the source person for setting up all business concerns and companies,” Maryam said, detaching herself and her father from Hudaibiya Paper Mills. She added: “I or my father had no role whatsoever in this regard.”

In her answer to another query, Maryam stated: “I have already given my defence in categorical terms that I was never the real or beneficial owner of the Avenfield apartments.”

Most of the replies given by Maryam Nawaz were identical in nature with the earlier recorded statement of her father and the court, on the suggestion of her counsel Amjad Pervez, decided to “copy and paste” the answers in order to expedite the proceedings. Maryam, till the rising of the court, answered 46 questions of the list of 128. The proceedings will continue on Friday.

Earlier, former premier Nawaz Sharif said if anyone believes that one can defeat his resolve, he is badly mistaken this time.

Talking to media persons outside the accountability court, Nawaz Sharif said, being the prime minister, in the state’s interest, he did not dismiss the officer who gave him the proposal either to resign from the office of premier or take leave during the sit-in of 2014.

Sharif said he took resignation from Pervez Rasheed and Mushahid Ullah Khan to avert any confrontation between the state institutions.

Responding to a query, he said he could have taken action against the head of the state institution who conveyed him the message of resigning or taking leave from the office of premiership during the 2014 sit-in. “I could dismiss the officer who conveyed me the message, but I demonstrated patience, tolerance and forbearance. I did not dismiss the officer from his position in the interest of the country.”

Sharif also underlined that everyone has to come forward with unity of stance to strengthen democracy in the country. He said democracy can only sustain with stability and continuity if all the political forces of the country raise voice jointly for the stability of democracy at this juncture of time. For the last 70 years, he said, these issues and challenges have taken control of democracy, it’s time that the people of Pakistan should come to know about the reality of everyone. “Everything comes at a time, I will reveal the truth before the court when all this mess comes to the notice of the court,” he said.

Responding to another question, he said the court allowed former dictator Pervez Musharraf to go abroad.

His daughter Maryam Nawaz had no link with these cases, but those who dragged her into the court should be ready to face the consequences of their acts, the former PM said. He said they were asking Maryam about the Gulf Steel Mills matter despite the fact that she was only one-year-old at the time of its establishment.

He parried a query about former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

INP adds: Maryam Nawaz said on Thursday that Mian Sahab had borne every injustice and faced every situation with courage.

Maryam said in her tweet that Mian Sahab was sad while seeing her at the rostrum, but she said to her father that she was lucky to be with him in the current situation.

She said, “Mian Sahab don’t lose hope, everything will be fine.”

 

 

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MUHAMMAD ASAD CHAUDHRY

& Nokhaiz Sahi