The Supreme Court of Pakistan resumed hearing into Panama Leaks case Thursday (today) where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawyer Hamid Khan failed to produce solid evidence.
The Supreme Court observed it will confine Panamagate case hearing to the acquisition of foreign properties by Sharif family and not scrutinise the premier’s entire life.
During the hearing, Hamid Khan read different speeches of the PM.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s counsel Hamid Khan started provision of evidence by bringing forth the Panama Papers, saying that April 3 leaks first brought the matter to light as it mentioned PM Nawaz and his family members.
Khan added that the PM had given three speeches regarding the Panama Papers. He read out two of these speeches in court today.
The first speech, dated April 5, was delivered by PM Nawaz Sharif in the National Assembly and dismissed the allegations levelled against him in the Panama leaks.
A speech also divulged the details of the PM’s assets and explained how he had acquired them, starting with the Bhutto era to the Musharraf era.
The speech also alleged that the PPP preventing the Sharif family’s factories from running.
Resultantly, the bench asked him to present solid evidence to establish their stance that the properties were acquired through black money. However, the bench was not satisfied with his contention.
“You have a case but you are doing politics before us”, Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh told the PTI counsel .
Instead of reading long speeches of the PM, he also asked Hamid Khan to examine each document presented before the court on behalf of the respondents.
“On the basis of PM’s contrary statements on foreign properties, how can we uphold that London flats were purchased through black money,” the CJ further asked.
Further, Justice Azmat asked the counsel for PTI to present their case through documents submitted by the Sharif family in the court. The CJ also observed that there is no mention in the respondents’ statements regarding the total worth of London flats.
Earlier, Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that if the PM has given misstatements or told a lie before the public or floor of the house then he would have faced consequences.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif submitted his reply in the ongoing Panamagate case in which claimed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s proofs against him were baseless.
Following PM Nawaz’s submission, Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said, “The court wants to conclude the case as early as possible.”
Justice Jamali also observed that they cannot issue a conclusive decision against the premier until there is proof of his alleged corruption. The court adjourned the hearing into the case till November 29.
Earlier, the premier’s children on Wednesday contended before the SC that documentary evidence presented by the PTI in support of its allegations against them were not substantial and concrete.
As the five-judge larger bench of the apex court – headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali – is resuming hearing of the Panamagate case, the Sharif family counsel Akram Sheikh submitted an application on behalf of Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz.
In a three-page application, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz’s newly-engaged counsel emphasised that the allegations levelled by the PTI in their petitions related to claims that Maryam Nawaz was the owner of Flat Nos. 16, 16A, 17 and 17A at Avenfield House in London’s Park Lane.
The PTI had also sought the disqualification of the prime minister and his son-in-law — retired Capt Mohammad Safdar — from the National Assembly, on the grounds that PM Sharif had not declared the properties allegedly owned by his daughter, who was purportedly mentioned as his dependant in his tax returns and the statement of assets and liabilities filed with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
This fresh application, submitted on behalf of the PM’s children, highlights that as respondents, they have already submitted concise as well as supplemental statements to refute the allegations levelled by the PTI.
But as far as the additional documents submitted by the PTI were concerned, the application maintained they contained no substantiated, tangible, concrete and admissible proof in relation to the controversy at hand.
“The general allegations made and the documents appended with, are specifically and vehemently denied for being incorrect, erroneous, misconceived and inadmissible,” the application maintained.
“In case the petitioner intends to rely on any documents appended with additional documents or to agitate matters during [Panamagate] proceedings, which are not related to the allegations/grounds other than the four London flats, the answering respondent reserves the right to submit appropriate replies to every document or allegation as well as raise objections to each document [if the petitioner chooses to rely on them],” the application said.
Meanwhile, the ECP also submitted its reply, saying it had deferred hearing on four identical matters relating to the concealment of assets and disqualification of the prime minister until a decision on similar pleas pending before the Supreme Court.
The reply said PTI’s petitions had come up for hearing before the commission on Aug 17 and notices were issued to the respondents to clarify the legal and factual points raised in the petitions before the ECP on Sept 6.
The respondents, however, moved applications before the commission challenging its jurisdiction and did not file any reply to the allegations raised in the reference.
Subsequently, the ECP adjourned further proceedings for arguments on the question of jurisdiction but later held that it would wait for the final outcome of the Supreme Court hearing on the Panamagate case.
-Nawaz, daughter submits reply-
Earlier, submitting documentary evidence in the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, PM Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz claimed that their London flats had been bought through Qatari investment.
As the five-member larger bench, chaired by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, started hearing the Panama Leaks case on Tuesday, Advocate Akram Sheikh, the counsel representing the PM’s children, presented a letter from a Qatari prince claiming the flats were purchased through the settlement of accounts between his family’s company and the Sharif family.
Addressed to the SC, the letter from Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Hamad bin Abdullah bin Jassim bin Muhammed Al Thani states that in 1980, Mian Muhammad Sharif had invested 12 million Dirhams in the Al Thani company belonging to the Qatari prince’s father. “In the year 2006, the accounts in relation to the above investment were settled between Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Al Thani family, who then delivered the bearer shares of the companies referred in para 4 above to a representative of Hussain Nawaz Sharif,” the letter stated.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa asked Sheikh whether the Qatari prince would appear as the witness in court.
Sheikh also submitted documents comprising 397 pages as evidence, containing details of transactions and receipts of payments since 2011.
He said that in January 1972, the six industrial units owned by the PM had been taken over by the government. “Six of them were in West Pakistan while one was in East Pakistan. The PM went to Dubai and set up a steel mill there without any investment from Pakistan. The capital came from Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum. A total of 75 percent shares of the company went to Al-Hali group. In 1980, the PM sold 20 percent shares,” he said. Sheikh maintained that no money had gone out from Pakistan.
The court remarked that his statement was different from what the PM had said in Parliament. Justice Khosa said that the prime minister had said that he had sold a mill in Dubai to build a mill in Azizya.
Sheikh said that he represented the PM’s children and not the prime minister. “You can question Salman Butt about it,” he said.
Sheikh also objected to the formation of a commission to probe the Panama Leaks case and requested that the court to continue hearing the case.
Though Maryam Nawaz has submitted the evidence required by the court, her brothers, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz failed to submit the documents on Tuesday. The bench expressed disappointment over the failure of the premier’s sons to comply with court orders. The apex court directed them to submit the relevant documentary evidence by November 17 (Thursday). The bench also directed all parties to exchange the documents.