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The Panamagate Case, A timeline of important events

The Panamagate Case

April 3, 2016: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) leaks 11.5 million secret documents coming from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. Nawaz Sharif’s three children – Hassan, Hussain and Maryam – reported to own at least two offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

April 5, 2016: Nawaz Sharif addresses the nation and announces to set up a judicial probe to investigate the money trail of offshore firms owned by his family.

April 4, 2016: PTI chief Imran Khan, among other opposition groups, accuses the PM and his family of corruption and money laundering, demands an investigation.

May 18, 2016: Government and Opposition agree on writing a letter to the Supreme Court requesting to form a Commission to probe the Panama issue.

May 13, 2016: Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali declines the government’s request, saying, “The formation of a commission under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act 1956 (Act VI of 1956), looking to its limited scope will result in the constitution of a toothless commission, which will serve no useful purpose.”

August 30, 2016: PTI’s petition, asking for the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and members of his family for their alleged involvement in the Panamagate scandal, is returned as it, prima facie (on the face of it), appeared frivolous.

November 1, 2016: Top court forms five-member bench, headed by the CJP Anwar Zaheer Jamali, to probe the ruling family’s offshore assets.

November 16, 2016: A letter by Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani is presented in the apex court in which he claims that the London properties were purchased through the settlement of accounts between his family’s company and the Sharif family.

January 4, 2017: A new Supreme Court bench resumes the hearing of the Panamagate case. The hearings were halted after Chief Justice Jamali’s retirement on December 9, 2016. The five-member bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, takes up the case.

February 23, 2017: The Supreme Court hearings conclude. Verdict is reserved.

April 20, 2017: The SC announces the verdict. Two judges — Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmad – recommend premier’s disqualification, three other judges order a further probe by a joint investigation team (JIT).

May 5, 2017: Supreme Court sets up a 6-member JIT, headed by Additional Director General FIA Wajid Zia, to investigate the money trail of flats owned by the ruling family in London.

July 10, 2017: The JIT presents its report. It finds the PM and his family of living beyond means, concealment of facts and being beneficial owners of multiple offshore companies.

July 17-21: The bench resumes hearing and after the final arguments from both sides, reserves verdict.

July 28, 2017: The five-member Supreme Court bench unanimously rules against Nawaz Sharif, disqualifying him from the office.

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