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Pakistan tense ahead of Sharif probe completion

The six-member JIT set up in May by the Supreme Court is investigating Sharif and his members of his family for allegedly failing to provide the trail of money used to buy properties in London in 1990s. Photograph: (AFP)

PTI Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan Jul 08, 2017, 10.18 PM (IST)

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz on Saturday threatened to reject the findings of a joint investigation team (JIT) probing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family for tax evasion, threatening to push the country's politics against a precipice.

The six-member JIT set up in May by the Supreme Court is investigating the Sharifs for allegedly failing to provide the trail of money used to buy properties in London in 1990s.

The JIT questioned Sharif, his daughter and two sons, and several of his family members, close aides and top current and former officials.

It is expected to submit it report on July 10 at the completion of a 60-day deadline.

Four federal ministers considered close to Sharif in a press conference said the PML-N will not accept the JIT report if it did not record the statements of the former Qatari prime minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani.

"The JIT report will be compromised without his (Qatari prince) statements and we will not accept it," Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said.

Al-Thani in two letters written to Supreme Court revealed that late Muhammad Shairf, father of Nawaz Sharif, had invested 12 million dirham in real estate business of the royal family.

According to letters by the Qatari royal, the money invested by late Sharif was returned to the family with profits. The Sharifs have maintained that the same money was used to buy properties in London.

However, opposition parties allege that the London properties was bought through ill-gotten money in 1990s when Sharif served twice as Pakistan's prime minister.

During the week, local media reported that two members of the JIT has gone to Qatar to record his statement but it later emerged that the they had gone to UAE for official work.

It for the first time that PML-N has indicated that it might reject the report. But any such action may result in widespread unrest in the country.

Sharif's nemesis Imran Khan had already threatened that he would protest if the government tried to derail the probe.

The current crisis started after the Panama Papers showed that Sharif's children owned the London properties and manage them through offshore companies.

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