PM becomes disqualified for hiding assets in London, JI’s counsel tells SC
ISLAMABAD: A larger bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa resumed hearing of the Panama Papers case on Friday against the family members of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The bench of the apex court also include Justice Azmat Saeed, Justice Ijaz Afzal, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan.
Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) counsel Taufiq Asif gave arguments in the case today as Prime Minister’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan completed his on Thursday.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been disqualified for hiding assets in London,” asserted JI’s counsel in the top court during 13th hearing of the infamous case.
Taufiq Asif, who defended JI’s reference against PM Sharif and his family members in the court on Friday after legal teams of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and PM Sharif completed their arguments, said that PM’s speech in the National Assembly was a confession.
“PM’s speech in the National Assembly was not an ordinary event,” said Asif.
He continued that for hiding his property in London, Nawaz Sharif became ineligible to continue as the prime minister.
“Nawaz Sharif is not Sadiq and Amin anymore and the Supreme Court can give a declaration against him under Article-184/3”, JI’s counsel claimed.
On one occasion, the JI’s counsel also took his arguments back with regards to Zafar Ali Shah Case for which Justice Gulzar warned him by saying that “the case should not be taken in such a non-serious way”.
The Supreme Court later adjourned hearing of the Panama Papers case until Monday.
‘Govt has no choice other but to reveal truth’
JI Chief Siraj-ul-Haq on Friday said that his party’s case in the top court was not to target an individual; in fact, it was against corruption.
While interacting with media outside the court, he reiterated that the government was badly trapped in the Panama Papers case and so it was left with no better option but to disclose the truth.
Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rasheed said that BBC’s recent London flats report was a slap on Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) face.
He was of the view that ministers’ behaviour outside the court was troublesome and continued that if the government could deny claims of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICJI) on Panama Papers scandal, Rasheed would take his case back.
Rasheed pinned hope that a coffin of London flats would be taken out from the top court.
PTI Spokesperson Naeem-ul-Haq said that few of the PML-N leaders had started giving threats for exposing party’s corruption.
He said PTI would continue to call corrupt people as corrupt because the party believes that it was its responsibility to create awareness among the general public.
‘Inside or outside parliament, PM never lied’
PML-N leaders continued to defend Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif even on Friday after JI counsel requested the Supreme Court to disqualify him for hiding properties in London.
The federal ministers maintained that the prime minister never lied to the nation, whether inside or outside the parliament.
Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb also criticised JI.
“I cannot understand, Siraj-ul-Haq is with us or with Imran Khan,” said Saleem Zia.
The Panamagate Scandal
The leaked papers, comprising 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, exposes how some of the world’s most powerful people have secreted their money offshore, and also implicated Sharif’s sons Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz.
Three of Sharif’s four children are named in the Panama Papers – daughter Maryam, who has been tipped to be his political successor and sons Hasan and Hussain – with the records showing they owned London real estate through offshore companies administered by Mossack Fonseca.
The Panama Papers have whipped up a storm of controversy over offshore wealth, ensnaring political leaders, sports figures and underworld members across the globe in the scandal.