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Friday Apr 21, 2017

Panama Leaks case judgment: Live from Courtroom No.1

Panama Leaks case judgment: Live from Courtroom No.1

ISLAMABAD: First they looked extremely tense. Most of them were counting beads as well as reciting verses of holy Quran. It was happening 50 minutes before the order of Panama Leaks was announced on Thursday in the Courtroom No.1.

In a completely packed beautiful hall, where worthy judges looked dominating, their tenseness turned into joy. The moment it was announced that three of five judges believe that there was apparently not enough evidence to remove the Prime Minister from the office, supporters of Sharifs jumped in the air with joy to celebrate what they conceived was a victory after a trailblazing trial that lasted for months.

Head of the bench Justice Asif Saeed Khosa was looking in commanding position in the courtroom where more than five hundred participants witnessed the historic announcement of this case which has already changed the political course in this country. But the petitioners also found some happiness over there. Supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Awami Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami felt a sigh of relief when two senior most judges of this bench observed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lied to the nation, the Parliament and the Supreme Court of Pakistan by losing integrity in this case.

But many believe that what was left for Sharifs’ opponents to eulogize was only a 'moral victory' because remaining two judges called for immediate removal of the prime minister of Pakistan. But whether the 'morality' is something one can capitalize in politics in this part of the world is a tricky question, a senior diplomat told this correspondent. "Apparently, it does not," he observed.

The day started with extraordinary enthusiasm. Hundreds of people thronged to the apex court in slightly hot afternoon. Thousands of security personnel were also deputed to safeguard the country’s top court and its adjacent buildings. Red alert was issued for the safety of visitors in the red zone day before yesterday.

 As the clock struck 2:03pm, Panama-bench-judges took their seats. Everybody was on tenterhooks including Chairman PTI Imran Khan in the courtroom which was decorated with 24 pictures of former chief justices of Pakistan. 13 of 24 former chief judges have been left this world, a senior lawyer told this correspondent. But picture of founder of Pakistan dominated the hall whose upper gallery was specially opened for family members of judges who also heard this historic judgment. 

PTI supporters’ faces looked bit gloomy in the Supreme Court after Justice Khosa completed announcement. Perhaps, they understood their argument to de-seat Prime Minister was not accepted by three judges. They left the courtroom quickly and did not talk to press outside the court premises. N-League supporters, however, shouted slogans—"Long live Nawaz Sharif."

They distributed sweets where Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal were leading the workers. "For us, it was a win-win-situation--it is our victory," said Salman Akram Raja. Imran Khan also looked happy who told this correspondent that the court has admitted his stance -- Sharifs have now lost moral authority to rule this country."

Many lawyers were repeatedly quoted Justice Khosa who has borrowed a popular quote from 1969 novel ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo who recounted the violent tale of a Mafia family and the epigraph selected by the author was fascinating: Behind every great fortune there is a crime.

Similarly, a story was also being shared by some participants where they were quoting Justice Gulzar Ahmed who observed in his note that “the entire story has been woven around two letters and two affidavits, the contents of which we have found to be dubious and hard to believe.”

But many also were discussing that Maryam Nawaz was given clean chit in this order who also believed that the sword of Panama is still hanging over PM Sharif as the final order will come after the proposed JIT completed its investigation.

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