PM cannot be disqualified for his speeches, counsel tells SC larger bench
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan adjourned the hearing of the infamous ‘Panama Papers Leaks’ case until Tuesday (tomorrow) during which the premier’s counsel will continue his arguments.
When an SC larger bench led by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa resumed the hearing of the case on Monday, the newly engaged counsel of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Makhdoom Ali Khan, who replaced Salman Aslam Butt, told the court that he would give arguments on Article 62 and 63 of the constitution, disparity between PM’s speeches and on the dependency issue of Maryam Nawaz Sharif (PM’s daughter).
Makhdoom Ali Khan also claimed that he would not repeat his arguments during the hearing today as PM’s counsel.
“All the decisions in disqualification cases in the past were taken after evaluating substantial evidences,” claimed the Prime Minister’s counsel while giving an example of Mubashir Hasan case.
He said that the prime minister could not be disqualified on the basis of speeches and dual nationality and stressed the country’s premier never lied in his speeches and has immunity from prosecution.
“You are saying that the prime minister never lied and you are also seeking immunity,” said Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked Panama Case was of different nature and added that PM made the speech in a bid to support an opinion.
“We are only trying to understand the case through his (PM’s) speeches,” he told Makhdoom Ali Khan.
“Why you keep on forgetting that the Supreme Court has given a straight verdict on a case related to dual nationality previously,” remarked Justice Azmat Saeed addressing Makhdoom Ali Khan following the latter’s statement, that the top court believed it could hear such cases.
Makhdoom Ali Khan, fixing his tone, said that he did not mean during his arguments that the court could not hear the cases.
Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) submitted a new disqualification reference against the prime minister in the court on Monday.
Chief Justice Pakistan (CJP) Justice Saqib Nisar formed the SC bench comprising Supreme Court judges –Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Azmat Saeed, Justice Ijaz Afzal, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan – to hear the case.
Chairman PTI said, Prime Minister Sharif had vehemently claimed during his parliament speech that he would not seek immunity on the scandal, probably because he never thought the matter would go so far into the case.
“Nawaz Sharif had no inkling that Panamagate case will go into the Supreme Court,” said Khan while talking to media after the apex court adjourned the case.
Panama Case will wind-up this week, claims PTI
Talking to media representatives outside the top court, spokesperson for Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Naeem-ul-Haq was hopeful that a historical decision in the case would come this week.
Later Fawad Chaudhry told media that PM’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan tried his best to prevent the court from reaching truth in the Panamagate case.
He claimed PM’s counsel arguments lacked links with the case and this was why many even fell asleep during when he was speaking in the court on Monday.
Fawad Chaudhry insisted that Makhdoom Ali Khan must answer how PM’s children got a staggering sum of money.
‘PTI has no evidence against Prime Minister Sharif’
Officials representing the government and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) continued to defend the premier in front of the media even on Monday.
PTI has admitted that PM Sharif’s name was not in the Panamagate Scandal, said Danial Aziz and added that the party also lacked substantial evidence against him.
Another leader of the governing party, Maira Khan claimed that Imran Khan himself was trying to hide his property.
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.