PTI’s counsel concludes arguments

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) counsel Naeem Bokhari on Wednesday concluded his arguments in the Panama papers case, maintaining that it was obligatory on the part of Sharif family to establish the legitimacy of all their businesses in the UAE, Saudi Arabia as the well as ownership of the Mayfair properties in London. 

Appearing before a five-member larger bench led by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Bokhari contended that there was a contradiction in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speeches in this regard.

Bokhari reiterated that Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of Nawaz Sharif, remained her father’s dependent after marriage as her spouse did not have sufficient income. His remark prompted Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan to observe that no one can be declared a dependent on the basis of receiving gifts from his or her parents.

Sheikh Rashid, the head of the Awami Muslim League, and one of the four petitioners, argued that there are several citations of the Privy Council (United Kingdom) to prove that hearsay is not admissible in a court of law (because it is not admissible for the truth of the matter asserted because it is inherently unreliable). According to him, the Qatari prince’s letter falls in that category.

Rashid contended that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) failed to file an appeal against the decision of the referee judge of Lahore High Court barring NAB from reinvestigating the Hudabiya Paper Mills (HPML) case where incumbent Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had submitted an affidavit acknowledging that he laundered money for the Sharif family.

“If an appeal had been filed against the High Court verdict in the HPML case then we would not have come before the Supreme Court in Panama papers matter,” said Sheikh Rashid. Sheikh Rashid requested the apex court to issue directives for a re-investigation into the HPML case, adding that he had witnessed, on several occasions, that a number of people faced legal proceedings on the basis of statements recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) but unfortunately no action had been taken in the HPML case.

While concluding his argument, Sheikh Rashid said “By the end of the case Sheikh Rashid’s arguments will be the most memorable”. Jamaat-e-Islami, another petitioner in the case, requested the court through its counsel, to summon Nawaz Sharif, prompting Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa to state that their client had not made Nawaz Sharif a respondent in the petition.

Jamaat-e-Islami counsel then requested the court to grant them permission to amend their plea, however the bench turned down their request, saying “if interested a fresh petition can be filed” which led the counsel to seek time to consult their client.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, the counsel for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his maiden interaction with the court in this case contended that he will initially focus on the issue of ownership of four London flats, adding that Jamaat-e-Islami’s plea does not mention his client’s name (Nawaz Sharif) in the case.

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that there were issues apart from the London flats as well to which Makhdoom Ali Khan contended that the name of his client was not included in the Panama Papers. Makhdoom Ali Khan pleaded that PTI had accused all members of the Sharif family of looting the public exchequer including Abbas Sharif, Rabia Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, and others. Justice Khosa asked him to focus on Nawaz Sharif, saying the Supreme Court can summon anyone.

Later, the hearing of matter was adjourned till Thursday (today) after Makhdoom Ali Khan requested the court that he may be allowed to resume his arguments on the next date of hearing.

-Business Recorder