ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan adjourned hearing of the Panamagate Case till Monday.
A five-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, also including Justice Azmat Saeed, Justice Ijaz Afzal, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan, heard the case today.
The bench today directed the prosecutor National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to produce the record of confessional statement of Ishaq Dar he made in Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference.
As the hearing resumed, the counsel of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif requested to the bench for more time to submit the document of the property distribution of the family and details of the exchange of gifts.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on the request observed that earlier it was said that all documents will be provided to the court, now you are seeking time for presenting the documents.
Shahid Hamid representing Finance Minister Ishaq Dar argued that ” my client being blamed for recording a confessional statement before a magistrate on April 25, in year 2000.”
The statement said that Ishaq Dar confessed 14.866 million rupees money laundering. It has also been alleged that the accounts were opened for the brother of the prime minister, the counsel said.
“Whether Ishaq Dar refuses to accept the affidavit”, Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked the counsel. Shahid Hamid said his client denies the statement.
The Counsel said that his client was detained at house after the military coup and was offered a government post on ‘cooperation’.
He was made to sign the statement with force and was arrested after the statement recorded, Shahid Hamid said. He was kept under detention till year 2001, the counsel further said.
The counsel said that in a detailed interview after his release, his client refuted the confession statement. “If the magistrate hadn’t attest it, it is nothing more than a piece of a paper,” Justice Ijaz Afzal remarked.
Counsel Shahid Hamid said Ishaq Dar was detained on October 15, 1999. Hudaibiya Engineering and Hudaibiya Paper Mills case was filed in 1994. Mian Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Abbas Sharif, Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz were nominated in the case, Ishaq Dar’s lawyer said. The charge-sheet on the FIR was submitted and the case was decided in 1997. A lower court dismissed the charge-sheet and acquitted the accused in 1997, the lawyer said.
Justice Asif Khosa said that only charge-sheet was withdrawn on a petition, the FIR still exists. How the accused acquitted in the case?
The counsel said that the statement has been nothing more than a piece of paper. “It is not a piece of paper, it is part of an evidence on which no action taken,” Justice Khosa said. The NAB reference was dismissed as the investigation not made according to the law.
The bench directed the prosecutor National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to produce the record of confessional statement of Ishaq Dar, he made in Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference.
The court adjourned the hearing till Monday.
In the previous hearing, Senior lawyer Shahid Hamid — representing Hassan and Hussain Nawaz — produced another letter of the Qatari prince.
The letter was dated 22nd December and had replied to the questions raised after the first letter.
The new letter described the business of the Qatari Prince and touched Dubai Steel Mills issue. The letter stated that investment of Sharif family in Qatar was made in cash as per the requirement of the Qatari business norms. It also mentioned that $ eight million were outstanding with respect to the business of Sharif family in year 2005. The payment was made in the form of Nielson and Nescol shares.
The prime minister’s sons also disclosed the details of Dubai Steel Mill and their business with Qatari prince. They stated that Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani’s business is spread all over the world.
The reply also mentioned that Dubai Steel Mill was built with the cooperation of banks and Dubai Government.
Hassan and Hussain Nawaz also submitted the documents of the sale and purchase of Azizia Steel Mill in Saudi Arabia and the factory in Dubai.
During the hearing the bench termed the petitions in the public interest and said that the citizens of Pakistan want to know the truth of the matter.
The judges made the observation when Mariam Nawaz lawyer Shahid Hamid in his arguments also discussed the issue of the jurisdiction of the court.
The bench said that all options are open with the court.
Shahid Hamid also gave judicial references of cases against the opposition parties and said that Imran Khan had welcomed the military coup of Musharraf. Justice Khosa observed that Qazi Hussain Ahmed had also welcomed the coup. These are past things let the bygone be bygone.
Justice Ijaz remarked that the lawyers are changing their defence.
Shahid Hamid when asked the court for appointment of an amicus curiae to assist the court. Justice Khosa replied that the plea is above the understanding of the bench as counsels of all parties are pleading in a best way.
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.