Panamagate hearing: PM denies holding offshore companies

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday in a written statement submitted to the Supreme Court (SC) during hearing of the Panamagate petitions denied holding any offshore companies.

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court resumed hearing of the Panamagate petitions two days after it ordered the government and opposition parties to submit Terms of Reference (ToRs) on the formation of a commission to probe revelations made in the Panama Papers.

The court’s order came just a day before the PTI’s planned Nov 2 ‘lockdown’ of Islamabad, and was followed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan announcing that the party’s siege of the capital would be replaced instead by a ‘thanksgiving’ rally at Islamabad’s parade ground.

PM Nawaz in his statement today maintained that he is a regular taxpayer and that none of his children is dependent on him. He added that he had declared all his assets in 2013, so he was not liable for disqualification under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

Only Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rasheed submitted his proposed ToRs during today’s hearing.

The court ordered all other petitioners and the prime minister’s counsel to submit their ToRs by Monday.

The prime minister’s counsel was also ordered to submit the responses of the PM’s children, Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz, as well as that of his son-in-law, Captain Safdar by Monday.

When the PM’s counsel was asked why his family members did not submit their responses, the lawyer said they were out of the country. The court expressed its displeasure and asked for submission of responses by Monday so the case can proceed.

The court has said that in the event that both parties do not form a consensus on ToRs, it will decide the terms itself. The Panamagate commission will report to the SC, and will hold powers equal to the apex court, the SC has said. The five-member bench of the apex court also reserves the powers to appoint the head and members of the proposed commission.

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