News Analysis |
The Supreme Court ended hearings on the Panama Case and reserved its judgment, the date of which has not been announced. The three-member bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz ul Ehsan heard counsels for five consecutive days.
On Friday, the judges decided to open volume X of the JIT report. However, the volume was not delved upon much by the counsel of the Prime Minister, Khawaja Harris.
Earlier, the JIT report was made public except for Volume X which was titled “Mutual Legal Assistance Requests Ongoing”. The Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had called the investigators’ request to withhold Volume X “mala fide”
Jurists vs Bokhari
The three honorable judges debated the matter with Naeem Bokhari, the counsel of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf. Bokhari told the court that the PM had not disclosed his position in the UAE-based company Capital FZE. He did not declare his income while serving as the chairman of the company, he added.
The judges asked Bokhari whether public office holders are debarred from engaging in other works, to which he responded in the affirmative.
“If it is [proven] true that the assets were not declared, that would amount to dishonesty,” said Justice Ejaz Afzal, while adding that it remains to be seen if this falls within the purview of the court or the Election Commission.
The judges asked Bokhari whether public office holders are debarred from engaging in other works, to which he responded in the affirmative. However, Justice Ejaz Afzal pointed out that the Constitution only restricts judges from engaging in other work, not any other public office holder.
“We accept that the burden of proof is on the Sharif family,” remarked Justice Ejaz Afzal. He also added that If Maryam is proven as the beneficial owner of the flats, her dependency on the prime minister becomes an issue.
The judges said that if the sources of income are not proved, the brunt would be borne by the prime minister. Besides, they lauded the efforts of the JIT, whose independence was questioned upon its institution.
The judges, in other words, have kept their options open while they have appreciated the efforts of the JIT in producing the report.
Salman Akram Raja’s clarifications
Counsel of Nawaz Sharif’s children, Salman Akram Raja who was given a very tough time on Thursday over the authenticity of the documents presented his clarification. “The court observed yesterday that we submitted fake documents. I want to clarify that we had no intention of it; however, it was due to our previous counsel Akram Chaudhry’s mistake. He filed a wrong document,” Raja argued before the bench. Justice Azmat said that the font issue still remains.
Justice Ejaz pointed out that if the court concludes that the ownership is not included in the [tax] returns, then the Representation of the People’s Act 1976 will be applicable.
Raja also said that many solicitors are available over the weekend in the UK. Justice Ejaz retorted that his client in Hussain Nawaz had said that making such appointments on Saturdays was not possible.
Read more:Resign for your own good sir !
Raja negated the JIT report and said that Maryam was not the owner of the Avenfield flats in London. Justice Ejaz pointed out that if the court concludes that the ownership is not included in the [tax] returns, then the Representation of the People’s Act 1976 will be applicable.
The court also challenged Raja’s assertions regarding Hussain Nawaz’s wealth. The advocate said that parents cannot bear the responsibility if the son cannot present evidence of his assets. Justice Ijaz referred to prime minister’s speech in the National Assembly.
“In the assembly speech, he had used the word ‘ours’, therefore he should reveal his children’s source of income and the source of London flats. He had asserted that money trail and evidences exist, and a few documents in this regard were submitted but they never surfaced. What to do if assets of a public servant don’t match with his income? He had claimed to have declared sources of his income in the National Assembly,” said Justice Ijaz
Euphoria or panic?
The proceedings took place briskly today and the court ended the hearings; reserved the decision which is anticipated by one and all. The court has four options to choose from. It will have to mull over disqualification, something which was often alluded to during the hearing. They can also send the case to the trial court and a reference to NAB. Chances of dismissing the case are next to nil.
A high-powered meeting was chaired by the prime minister after which Maryam Aurangzeb said that resignation is out of question. She reiterated that nothing was proven and the PM will survive a politically inspired case. Talal Chaudhary said that the case is over and the decision is inconsequential; the PM is Sadiq and Amin.
If the proceedings of the court are anything to go by, it is reasonable to predict that the Sharif family may not get out unhurt.
However, reports are abuzz that possible replacements for the PM slot are under discussions. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ayaz Sadiq are the top contenders.
If the proceedings of the court are anything to go by, it is reasonable to predict that the Sharif family may not get out unhurt. Probably, the bruises may not be deep enough to mollify his critics, who are euphoric for now.
PTI, the real force behind the Panama drive expressed confidence that the days of the PM are numbered. Addressing the media following the Supreme Court’s hearing over the JIT report implementation case, said Fawad Chaudhary “Nawaz Sharif has lied to the nation, assembly, and court,” adding that the premier had not disclosed assets linked with his the United Arab Emirates based Company (Capital FZE).
Awami Muslim League leader Sheikh Rashid on Friday said he is sure that the prime minister will be disqualified.“We have requested the court to hear a contempt of court case against Nawaz Sharif,” Rashid said, talking to media after the SC reserved its verdict on the Panama case.
PPP who have not significantly contributed towards the case was also upbeat about Sharif’s disqualification. All of this will be clear within the next few days or so.