ISLAMABAD: The Panama Papers case in the Supreme Court (SC) is at present squarely focused on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, and now the quality of evidence to be produced by the two sides will determine whether the premier stays or has to leave.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be in trouble if any of his links, direct or indirect, is established with offshore companies — Nescoll and Nielson — and the London flats or is found involved in money laundering/transfer as per the allegations of the PTI and other petitioners.
In his statement before the apex court, he has categorically denied any direct link with these offshore companies and the London flats. He also rejected the indirect link by not only dismissing that Maryam Nawaz is his dependant but added that his daughter neither is nor ever was the beneficial owner of Nescoll and Nielson.
In the light of his statement, the premier is apparently supposed to produce evidence to prove that Maryam is not his dependent. Such evidence will help him eliminate his indirect link with the offshore companies and London properties.
On the contrary, the PTI and other petitioners in view of their allegations will have to come up with evidence showing a direct or indirect link of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with the London properties and offshore companies.
Since the premier denied that the money was transferred from Pakistan, his accusers have to come up with some evidence to prove him wrong here. In his statement, the prime minister opted to defend his daughter by stating that Maryam Nawaz neither is and nor ever was the beneficial owner of Nescoll, Nielson and Coomber.
Even if it is proved that Maryam is not her father’s dependent, the above statement of PM could land him in trouble in case the daughter is proved “beneficial owner” of the offshore companies as reflected in the PanamaLeaks.
Maryam Nawaz has to prove with evidence that she is neither dependent of her father nor is the beneficial owner of Nescoll, Nielson and Coomber. In her statement before the apex court, she said that she was not and had never been the beneficial owner of any of the offshore companies or the properties in question. She said that the companies were being managed under a trust arrangement for the sole benefit of her brother, Husain Nawaz with her being a trustee. Maryam has to produce the documentary evidence to show that she is trustee and not beneficial owner.
Amongst the PM’s family, Husain Nawaz is burdened to share maximum evidence to prove that he owned the companies, which he claimed to have purchased in 2006. He will also prove through documentary evidence that he is the beneficial owner of these offshore companies; he made his sister Maryam a trustee; he arranged funds for the purchase of these properties without getting any money from his father etc.
The PTI and other petitioners alleged that these properties and offshore companies were purchased by the Sharif family during mid nineties. They also alleged that the corruption money was transferred from Pakistan to buy these properties.
To prove these allegations, the PTI and other petitioners have to show evidence as Nawaz Sharif and Husain Nawaz have already rejected these allegations and insisted that money was never transferred out of Pakistan. The accusers have to prove that the offshore companies and London flats were purchased by the Sharifs during mid nineties.
Husain Nawaz has stated that the companies and properties were not owned by him or by any of the member of his family before 2006.
About the source of funds that he used in purchase of the offshore companies, he said the money involved was from the sale proceed of the investment made by his late grandfather Mian Muhammad Sharif in the year 1980 from the sale proceeds of his steel business in Dubai. Here, Husain has to produce the evidence that concerns his part and not his late grandfather.
Hasan Nawaz, in his statement, has denied any of his links with either the offshore companies or the London properties. To prove him wrong, the petitioners are burdened to come up with the evidence.