Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif’s children file appeals challenging Panamagate verdict

ISLAMABAD: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children – Hussain, Hassan, Maryam Nawaz and her spouse retired Capt Muhammad Safdar – filed appeals in the Supreme Court on Friday, seeking review of the verdict that directed the national anti-graft watchdog to file references against them in connection with their off-shore properties.

On July 28, the apex court had disqualified Nawaz Sharif for not being honest for concealing his salary from a Dubai-based company and directed the National Accountability Bureau to file references against him and his children on the basis of the report of a joint investigation team that probed their off-shore properties.

The applicants through their counsel filed appeals today, pleading the apex court to review its judgment and stay further implementation of it until their appeals are decided.

They contended that the Supreme Court could not direct NAB to file references against them and argued that the top court had become party to NAB proceedings and thus, depriving them of their right to fair trial guaranteed under the Constitution.

They submitted that the way Panama JIT carried out investigation did not conform to the principles of justice.  Besides, the appointment of a SC judge to monitor NAB proceedings is in violation of the articles of the constitution that guarantee the right to fair trial under due process of law and right to life and dignity and protection.

Earlier, Nawaz Sharif had filed three appeals challenging the verdict that resulted in his dismissal.

Advocate Khuwaja Haris, the counsel of Sharif, filed the appeals, challenging the verdict handed down in three petitions filed by Imran Khan, Sheikh Rashid and Sirjul Haq, requesting the court to review its judgement. He contended that he had not hid his salary in his nomination papers for the 2013 polls – the ground on which he was disqualified for not being honest and trustworthy.

Under Article 188 of the Constitution, Sharif cannot be disqualified without a trial, petitions further said.

Sharif served as prime minister twice in the 1990s but failed to complete his tenure. In his second term he was ousted in October 1999 coup leading to a decade of exile. He won a third term as prime minister in 2013 general election.

The five judges bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, announced the judgement declaring Sharif disqualified as prime minister of the country.

Justice Khosa in the first phase of the hearing of the case had given a dissenting note in the April 20 split judgment with a quote from Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather and declared Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ‘disqualified’ for not being honest to the nation. His opinion in the first verdict was also endorsed by another member of the bench Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

But three other judges of the bench – Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan – preferred giving prime minister and his children another opportunity to explain their position before a Joint Investigation Team.

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