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Nawaz Sharif changes counsel ahead of hearing in Panamagate case

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children on Tuesday changed their counsels in the high-profile Panamagate case, a day ahead of the resumption of hearing in the Supreme Court.

According to documents filed in the apex court, Advocate Makhdoom Ali Khan will now represent Prime Minister Sharif in court instead of Salman Aslam Butt, Dawn newspaper reported.

Sharif’s sons, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz will be represented by Salman Akram Raja, while the prime minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz will be represented by Shahid Hamid.

The Prime Minister’s children were previously represented by Advocate Akram Shaikh.

A five-judge larger bench is hearing the Panamagate case after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party and four other petitioners approached the apex court, alleging that ill-gotten money was used by Sharif’s family to buy flats in London, which were run through offshore companies as shown in Panama papers leak.

According to the Panama Papers, three of Sharif’s four children, Maryam, Hasan and Hussain were owners of offshore companies and “were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several companies.”

Sharif and his family have dismissed the allegations of money laundering and denied any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, the Opposition PTI submitted additional evidence in the Supreme Court.

A 40-page document containing the findings of an investigation conducted by British investigative agencies and Mossack Fonseca was submitted to the court by PTI’s legal team.

The evidence reportedly contains emails exchanged by Mossack Fonseca and Minerva Services which shed new light on the case, the paper said.

During the press conference, Imran said, “It’s not the responsibility of a political party to submit evidence. Instead, the state institutions are responsible for bringing evidence to the court.”

Imran also accused Prime Minister Shairf of lying to the parliament and Supreme Court, and thus being liable to be punished for perjury.

Imran had in October announced the boycott of the National Assembly till a decision of the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.

These developments came a day before the Panamagate case hearing resumes in front of the SC’s newly appointed five- member larger bench headed by Senior Justice Naveed Khosa.