Home Global Village Sharif Family Corruption Trial: What is the role of Monitoring Judge?

Sharif Family Corruption Trial: What is the role of Monitoring Judge?

Monitoring Judge
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On Friday, Oct 13, main opposition party, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf demanded the Monitoring Judge, of Supreme Court, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan take notice of the conspiracies to obstruct justice by the Sharif family. PTI spokesman, Fawad Chaudhry, was speaking to the media immediately after the rowdyism at the Accountability Court by the PMLN lawyers, due to which indictment of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Capt. Safdar could not take place once again.

Why is the “Monitoring Judge” not taking notice of all what is happening around the accountability court? Senior Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, Arif Chaudhry, raised the question in Mohammad Malik’s TV program, at Channel 92. Arif Chaudhry, in a cautious tone, wondered, how the monitoring judge of the Supreme Court has remained silent when “Accountability Court has virtually been rendered dysfunctional”. Others on the social media are questioning the same.

PTI raises issue of scuffle outside NAB Court before Monitoring Judge

Supreme court set up a monitoring judge for supervising the NAB process

Supreme Court of Pakistan, in its July 28 decision, that led to the disqualification of ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and sent references of corruption related to 16 companies of Sharif family and Avon-field apartments (London) to NAB, had also appointed a “Monitoring Judge” to supervise the NAB process. Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, one of the five members of the bench that heard the Panama Corruption Case since the beginning of 2017, was appointed to oversee the process.

Why “Monitoring Judge” is not taking notice of all what is happening around the accountability court? Senior Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, Arif Chaudhry, raised the question in Mohammad Malik’s TV program, at Channel 92.

Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan’s appointment was bitterly criticized by PMLN leaders and party’s supporters in media and civil society, questioning how can a lower court do justice if a judge of Supreme Court is exercising influence over them. Others in the legal community pointed out that “Monitoring Judge” is only to supervise the functioning of NAB, and to ensure that this agency, otherwise controlled by the federal government, is working on the case as it should in law. But now it is being felt, especially after the latest act of rowdyism at the court by the PMLN lawyers, that perhaps “Monitoring Judge” is failing in his responsibilities.

Political analysts and media commentators wonder: if Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, has been made “overly defensive” and thus “dysfunctional” as a result of the naked aggressive media campaign launched against him and his role by the PMLN leaders and their supporters in legal community and media? One prominent media commentator asserted to GVS, on strict confidentiality, that in his analysis, this appears to be the case and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan has indeed been made “dysfunctional” under the pressure of flak that has been launched towards his role by government ministers, and supporters of PMLN government in media and legal community.

One prominent media commentator asserted to GVS, on strict confidentiality, that in his analysis, this appears to be the case and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan has indeed been made “dysfunctional” under the pressure of flak that has been launched towards his role by government ministers, and supporters of PMLN government in media and legal community. 

NAB did report to the Monitoring Judge, while it was preparing its case, on references. In the third week of September, it briefed Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, and submitted its first progress report in which it reportedly informed the office of Monitoring Judge that it has filed its four references, in NAB Court -1, Islamabad, summons have been issued and delivered to all accused and that it has a strategy if accused failed to appear before the accountability court.

NAB submits progress report to the SC monitoring Judge

Rowdyism in court by PMLN lawyers and Nawaz Sharif’s petition thus appear to be components of the same strategy – of not letting the corruption case proceed. 

However, Sharif family that earlier boycotted the NAB investigations later developed a new strategy that has now rendered accountability court totally dysfunctional. Sharif family either did not appear or has appeared piecemeal, one by one, making it impossible for the court to indict the accused. Creating scenes of rowdyism appear to be an additional tactic in this strategy.

On Oct 13, not only the PMLN lawyers created a situation that made it impossible for the court and prosecution to move ahead with the indictment, but, Nawaz Sharif also filed a petition in the Supreme Court, asking that NAB references be clubbed into one reference. He also pleaded that till the decision was announced on this petition, the corruption case in NAB Court Islamabad should be suspended or stayed. Rowdyism in court by PMLN lawyers and Nawaz Sharif’s petition thus appear to be components of the same strategy – of not letting the corruption case proceed.

If this situation persists, then the Supreme Court decision of July 28, ends up in frustration under the political shenanigans of Sharif family, ably assisted by the government ministers. Role of Monitoring Judge finally becomes important – and it now becomes clear why PMLN supporters in civil society and media had so bitterly attacked him. What Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan can do to save the Accountability Court remains to be seen.


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