Wednesday Jan 04, 2017

Supreme Court to hear Panama Leaks case on daily basis

ISLAMABAD: A new five-member larger bench of the apex court resumed fresh hearing of the Panama Leaks case today (Wednesday).

The larger bench led by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa includes two new judges, Justice Ijaz Afzal Khan and Justice Gulzar Ahmad. The other judges are Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan.

The apex court in its remarks said that it wanted to understand how money was invested into Sharif children's businesses. It asked how did funds transfer from Qatar to London, and if Nawaz Sharif was extending his business interests while he occupied government positions.

"Where were 12 million Dirham kept for two decades? From 1980 to 1997 what did Nawaz Sharif do? What is law for money transfer in Dubai and Qatar? How was money invested in the Sharif children's businesses?" the SC asked.

The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing till January 5 (tomorrow).

Hearing to be held on daily basis: SC 

During the proceedings, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that the hearing will be conducted on a daily basis. He asked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawyer Naeem Bukhari to plead the case in the court and not in the media.

To this Bukhari said, he had never talked about the case to the media. 

In his arguments, Naeem Bukhari referred to Prime Minister's speech to the nation on April 5 where he stated that he had evidence of his investments in Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Bukhari said that the Prime Minister had lied therefore he was neither Sadiq nor Ameen (truthful and trustworthy), and therefore he should be disqualified.

He said that an affidavit by Tariq Shafi, cousin of the premier, which claims that all properties including the Dubai mill were owned by him, was fake.

Justice Aijaz-ul-Haq asked for documents from 1993 that prove that the Nescol company is owned by Hussain Nawaz.

Bukhari said, "This is the only mystery in the case."

Justice Khosa replied, "Ownership of Neilson and Nescol before 2006 is what you [Bukhari] have to prove."

"Do the Panama documents have any legal standing," asked Justice Gulzar.

PTI chief Imran Khan told the bench that their press conferences should not be considered a pressure tactic on the courts. "The government uses its platform to say that PTI has not given evidence, to respond we have to hold press conferences," he said.

On December 9, a five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by former Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, had adjourned hearing until the first week of January 2017 after the PTI objected to the formation of a commission proposed by the bench, and stressed that the said bench should decide the matter in the interest of justice.

In the latest development in the case, the Prime Minister and his children have changed their legal team. The Prime Minister is being represented by Makhdoom Ali Khan, while Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar is being represented by Shahid Hamid. Salman Akram Raja will represent Hussain Nawaz

New year, new bench, but same old arguments: Talal

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz leader Talal Chaudhry said that the Panama Leaks hearing has resumed on a new year, with a new bench, but the same old allegations were being hurled at them.

“There is no difference between unverified documents and garbage,” he said, a jibe at evidence PTI submitted in the court.

PML-N leader Tariq Chaudhry said that the judiciary was an institution in which all parties had put their trust in, except the PTI. “We will satisfy both- the court and the people,” he said.

Sheikh Rasheed demands caretaker government

Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed demanded a caretaker government as he said that the present government had lost all moral authority. "There is only one solution. The government should call an All Parties Conference and announce new elections," he said. 

PM should be disqualified: Fawad Chaudhry

Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court, PTI lawyer Fawad Chaudhry said it is the right of the nation to know the details of the Panama Papers case.

“Everyone will soon know about the massive fraud that has been done to them,” he said.

Chaudhry said the Prime Minister should be declared ineligible for concealing money laundering and tax evasion.

“The Prime Minister claims his father made investments in Qatar with money obtained from sale of a mill,” he added, and expressed hope that the case proceedings would be completed soon.

Speaking outside the Supreme Court before the hearing, Imran Khan said, "The weather has changed, so will the situation," referring to the sudden drop in temperature in the capital.

Mayfair flats belong to Maryam Nawaz: PTI

On Wednesday in two back to back press conferences Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf alleged that the Mayfair Flats belonged to Maryam Nawaz. “Maryam was beneficiary for two companies, and those companies owned the Mayfair flats,” he said


Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz responded by saying that the PTI should focus on its legal battle rather than creating “media hype”. 

Chairman Privatization Commission Muhammad Zubair said, ”Our case is watertight and they (Sharif family) have all relevant documents and they have no fear”.

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