Pakistan

PM can refuse to appear before JIT: former judge

Justice (retd.) Wajihuddin Ahmed on Saturday said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif can refuse to appear before the joint investigation team formed on the orders of Supreme Court after the Panamagate verdict, ARY News reported.

The former judge and PTI member maintained that PM can refuse to appear before the team and can ask his representatives or lawyers to do so on his behalf

“But the JIT can summon PM if they want to record the premier’s statement or visit the PM himself,” Justice Wajihuddin told ARY News anchor Maria Memon.

Contrary to what many politicians are saying, Wajihuddin said that the apex court has almost resolved the case and made it simple.

He claimed that forming a JIT was a better option than making a judicial commission as a commission is sometimes formed by government of the day or the court but its verdict is somewhat final.

“On the other hand, a JIT submits its report to the court and then its court’s discretion if it accepts the team’s report or not,” said Wajihuddin.

He was of the view that filing a review petition will not be an ideal thing for PTI as it will further delay the process and “will reduce to zero” the 26 hearings of the bench.

‘Even CJ cannot dissolve the Panamagate bench’

Negating the impression that the five judge bench which announced the Panama verdict has been dissolved, Wajihuddin claimed that the case will be referred to the same bench as the case’s status is “part-heard”.

“The (new interim) bench will only be created to receive the bi-weekly report from the JIT but this case is part-heard and will eventually go to the original bench,” explained Wajihuddin.

He added that the judiciary’s precedents suggest that even Chief Justice cannot dissolve this bench as they have partly heard this case.

THE PANAMA CASE VERDICT

The Supreme Court of Pakistan announced the Panama case verdict on April 20. The 549-page judgment said that there was insufficient evidence to order Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s removal from office.

The bench ordered formation of a JIT to continue the investigation against the Sharif family. Nawaz Sharif and his sons Hussain and Hasan have been directed to appear before the JIT.

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