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SC grants NAB access to JIT report’s ‘confidential’ Volume X

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) access to Volume X of the final report of the joint investigation team (JIT) that probed allegations of money laundering against the Sharif family in the Panamagate case.

The complete contents of the previously withheld volume have been made available to the bureau a day before former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his two sons have been summoned to appear before NAB investigators in Lahore.

NAB was asked to file four references in the Rawalpindi accountability court on the basis of the material collected and referred to by the JIT against members of the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in keeping with the apex court’s verdict in the Panama gate case.

Volume X of the report contains details of mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests sent to various countries and has not been made public by the Supreme Court on the request of the six-member JIT’s chairman Wajid Zia, who had feared that the information would be used to interfere in investigative collaborations with foreign countries.

Earlier, the SC had only provided NAB with the first nine volumes of the report, withholding the tenth.

However, last week, NAB had filed an application with the SC, requesting complete certified copies of the report. The bureau needed at least four certified and complete copies to finalise the references.

The disqualified prime minister and his sons are expected to appear before investigators of NAB in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case on Friday.

The Azizia Steel Mills case will be the first of many cases that NAB is going to probe — an act which could have repercussions for the Sharifs’ politics as well as for the country’s political scene for long.

The cases are an acid test for Nawaz who is fighting his case both in courts as well as before what he des­cribed as people’s jury.

The top tier of the ruling PML-N is these days huddled in Lah­ore and the summons by NAB will add yet another urgent topic to its list of concerns.

There are several cases involving investigations by NAB, including the affairs of many sugar mills.

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Azhar Hashmi

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