JIT finds massive increase in Sharif family's wealth in 1992-93

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Chairman Imran Khan held a high-level meeting of senior party leaders over Panama case hearing today.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in a serious situation after the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) found that the ruling family has been living beyond its means and has failed to provide a legitimate trail of its investments overseas. "The report is a pack of lies", Sharif said, following the conclusion of the JIT investigation. The party leaders and spokespersons were also briefed about the stance on Panama case. Last week's report accused Mr Sharif and his three children of lying under oath and submitting fake documents to hide their wealth overseas. Of the case, Pakistan's military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet on April 8: "The army, like every Pakistani awaits a decision based on justice and merit".

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has changed its stance and now it will wait for the Supreme Court's verdict before giving a call to the people to take to the streets and force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign.

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However, the PM's legal wizards are concerned that if the top court shoots down the objections raised by the respondents, the Sharif family would hardly be left with any workable option in its defence. Sharif claims that the report looks at his family's decades-old private businesses, and makes allegations without any proof of financial scandal or corruption in his current or past tenures. He said in his address to the Parliament, the prime minister told a lie.

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Three of his four children - his presumptive political heir Maryam and sons Hasan and Hussein - have been named in the corruption report which accused them of submitting "falsified/tampered" documents. Referring to Inter-Services Intelligence's representative in the JIT, Sharif said the person was not an employee of the spy agency and could not represent it on such a body.

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The extremely detailed report was drafted by five investigators, including representatives from the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) and the Corps of Military Intelligence (MI), with the support of foreign lawyers, forensic experts and worldwide financial authorities.

The JIT claims that the assets of Kulsoom Nawaz, Premier Sharif's wife, had also grown 17.5 times from Rs1.66 million to Rs28.62 million in 1992-93 against a reported income of Rs279,400 only. However, the family wants to retain him as Sharif's counsel. From dismissing the elected civilian government in the early years after partition to the death sentence of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and eventual military interventions during the early and late-1990s, Pakistan's democracy generally and civilian governments specifically continue to find themselves playing a very limited role in national strategic issues. But it ordered further investigations, and the formation of the JIT. Sharif returned to Pakistan after several years in exile in Saudi Arabia, branding himself as a victim of the army's high-handedness and intervention in democratic processes.

According to the Times of India, Government circles in New Delhi seem to agree as they brace for what might turn out to be possible post-Sharif scenarios.

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