ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif was interrogated for nearly four hours by a joint investigation team probing the Sharif family in the Panama Papers case.
“A new chapter of history has been written today after a chief minister of a province and a sitting prime minister appeared before an investigation committee in the country,” he told reporters outside the Federal Judicial Academy following the interrogation.
“This is proof that Sharif family respects the law and judiciary.”
The Punjab chief minister said he did not make any excuses to escape the investigation for accountability since it was not the first time that his family was being tried.
Taking a dig at former president Gen (retd) Parvez Musharraf who had fled the country before his trial was to take place, Shehbaz said, “I have been suffering from backbone pain, people know that, but I didn’t make any excuses and didn’t go to London for treatment like ‘others’.”
“Earlier, our Ittefaq Foundries were snatched away from us that our father had established after working hard for many decades,” he said, adding that this was the fifth time his family faced the trial.
Meanwhile, chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan said the Sharifs terming the accusations leveled at them as ‘conspiracies’ was beyond comprehension.
“The Sharifs have been lying about their source of income because they did not have any money trail to prove the financial assets in London.”
“As soon as the rulers realised they are being held accountable and they have lost their case, they started discrediting the JIT,” he added.
Before his arrival at the academy, Shehbaz chaired a meeting at Punjab House to discuss the impending visit to the probing committee.
Almost a similar security arrangement was in place around the vicinity of FJA building that was provided when PM Nawaz Sharif appeared before the JIT on June 15.
Islamabad Traffic Police devised a special traffic plan for the day and three major connecting roads in the area leading to the FJA are closed for traffic. The ITP have created several alternative routes and diversion points for traffic in the area.
Earlier, the Punjab government had clarified that Shehbaz had not been ‘summoned’ rather he has been called to assist the JIT on June 17 for his acquaintance with details of Hudabiya Paper Mill case.
Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information and Culture Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan denied media reports of JIT summoning Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif on June 17 and said the chief minister has been called up by the JIT. He said Shehbaz was called to provide details of the Hudabiya Paper Mill case to a six-member JIT, headed by Federal Investigation Agency’s Additional Director General Wajid Zia.
He said only accused or co-accused could be summoned whereas anybody with the knowledge that could help the investigation move forward can only be called before the JIT for assistance.
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