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Pakistan

JIT questions former NAB chief on Hudaibya Paper Mills case

Resuming its investigation into the Sharif family’s business dealings abroad, the Panamagate joint investigation team (JIT) on Thursday recorded a statement from retired Lt Gen Amjad Naqvi, who had headed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) at the time an investigation was first opened into the Hudaibya Paper Mills case.

Sources privy to the information said that the ex-NAB chairman answered the JIT’s questions for nearly an hour and discussed the details of the Hudaibya investigation conducted by NAB.

The sources further said that Naqvi also provided the JIT documents from the investigation.

A day earlier, the JIT had also examined the record received from Habib Bank and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). Habib Bank had provided records related to loans which the Sharif family had procured for Hudaibya Paper Mills, while the FBR had provided the team wealth statements and tax-related details of Sharif family members.

The JIT has also summoned the prime minister’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, to appear before it on July 5, a move that the ruling party has termed as an “egoistic decision” but agreed to comply with.

Maryam Nawaz will be the seventh member of her family to be summoned so far in connection with the ongoing investigation. The JIT has also summoned her brothers, Hussain and Hassan, on July 3 and 4, respectively.

Hussain Nawaz has already appeared before the JIT five times since May 28.

Other family members of the Sharif family who have appeared before the JIT include Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the PM’s son-in-law, retired Captain Mohammad Safdar and the PM’s cousin, Tariq Shafi.

Sources privy to developments say the JIT will ask Maryam Nawaz about her offshore companies and her financial resources.

She may also be asked questions regarding the media campaign against the JIT in the newspapers, television channels and on social media, since there is an impression that she is leading the charge in this regard.

A PML-N leader told Dawn that PM Sharif had already decided to comply with every direction of the JIT, adding that this was the reason that both his sons did not claim exemption, despite being non-resident Pakistanis.

He said that since Maryam Nawaz was currently in the UK to attend the graduation ceremony of her son, she would confirm her appearance after consulting with her legal team.

He said that unlike PM Sharif and his sons, Maryam’s name was not mentioned in the operative paragraph of the SC’s April 20 judgement; therefore she had not been expecting the JIT to summon her.

The apex court’s verdict had virtually cleared Maryam from the controversy, stating that the PM’s daughter “has received cash gifts from her father in substantial amounts on various occasions … [but] receipt of gifts from the father does not necessarily make respondent No.6 (Maryam Nawaz) his (Nawaz Sharif) dependent in the legal sense of the word.”

Her husband, Capt Safdar, also appeared before the JIT on June 24, but sources said that since the PM’s son-in-law left some questions unanswered, the team had issued a summons to his spouse.

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Mian Bilal

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