SC adjourns Panama papers case review petitions till Friday

September 14, 2017
Samaa Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court, Thursday adjourned hearing of the review petitions filed by Sharif family and Finance Mimnister Ishaq Dar against the apex court’s judgment in the Panama Papers case on July 28 till Friday.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan heard the review appeals.

Continuing his arguments from yesterday, Khawaja Haris Ahmed counsel for Nawaz Sharif argued that his client had never claimed to receive any salary from Dubai based company FZE Capital. On this Justice Ejaz Afzal observed that documents submitted in court during the Panama Papers case proved that then prime minister Nawaz Sharif received a salary from FZE. He remarked that the employment agreement stated that a salary of 10,000 UAE dirhams had been set for Sharif.

Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan remarked that the JIT documents showed that Nawaz Sharif had an account to receive the salary and according to the JIT findings, Nawaz Sharif drew his first salary on August 01, 2013 and his employment number was 194811. He observed that the relevant record in this regard is present in the JIT’s Volume IX.

Khawaja Haris said though his client had not backtracked from the employment agreement but he did not have a bank account for the purpose.

Justice Ejaz Afzal asked how can the court accept verbally that Nawaz Sharif did not receive the salary. A statement could not be accepted without scrutiny under the law of evidence, he added.

Khawaja Haris said that a proper trial was needed for a lawmaker’s disqualification. If just election of his client was termed void then Nawaz Sharif would only have been barred for one term, he added.

The counsel said he had been unable to find any precedents in which the court had applied Article 62(1)(f) to disqualify a member National Assembly on the basis of mere omission. The consitution does not specify the life-time limit of disqualification under Article 62, he claimed. It was the first case wherein the apex court disqualified any parliamentarian.

ustice Azmat Saeed remarked that under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, the top court only decides cases on the basis of admitted facts and it would not go beyond that.

Khawaja Haris reiterated that Nawaz Sharif did not open the account to get salary. He termed the JIT report incomplete and said that the JIT received most of its documents from other sources and had faults in it. He contended that references could not be filed against the Sharif family on the basis of the JIT report.

Justice Ejaz Afzal remarked that the faults in the report will benefit his client in the case. He asked Khawaja Haris that his client would have a complete chance for cross-examination in the trial court. The bench has not accepted the report as credible evidence and did not make its decision on the basis of the JIT report, Justice Ejaz observed.

He remarked that the apex court’s verdict of July 28 would not become a hindrance if some new revelation came on record during proceedings in the accountability court.

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that the apex court had in the past provided relief to Nawaz Sharif over violation of fundamental rights and the impression should not be given that the Supreme Court has become a complainant against the Sharif family. He also observed that whenever cases were instituted against Nawaz Sharif in violation of legal provisions, it was this Supreme Court that saved him.

Khawaja Haris pleaded the court to direct the NAB to file references if it considered them fit. Upon this the bench responded that had the matter been left to NAB alone the references would not have been filed.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that the counsel should have faith in the court not the streets. The court will ensure that no injustice occurs during proceedings in the trial court.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that the appointment of a monitoring judge is nothing new as he himself remained monitoring judge of trial courts in Punjab.

After completion of the arguments by Harris, Advocate Shahid Hamid counsel for Finance Minister Ishaq Dar started his arguments and said that the same bench was hearing the review petition which delievered the final judgment in Panama case. He claimed that the JIT exceeded its mandate.

Justice Ejaz Afzal remarked that the court could not turn a blind eye to what was on record. He observed that Ishaq Dar’s assets had been increased by 91 times from Rs 9 million to Rs 990 million in a short time of 15 years. – APP