ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan continued his arguments for the fifth consecutive day in the Panama Papers leaks case in Supreme Court on Tuesday (today).
Makhdoom Ali Khan, continuing his arguments, said the prime minister must be given immunity under Article 248 of the constitution.
A five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, and comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmad, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan is hearing the case.
Prime minister’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan during the course of the hearing cited several judgments to establish that the apex court cannot adjudicate PM Nawaz on the basis of his speeches in Parliament.
The top court, however, observed that the privilege of lawmakers to say anything in Parliament without being held accountable was not absolute under Article 66 of the Constitution.
“Privilege of parliamentarians to say something in Parliament is not absolute under Article 66 of the Constitution,” Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh remarked during the hearing of the case against the premier and his family.
However, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in his observation said nobody was prosecuting the prime minister on the basis of his speeches in the Parliament but the court was deliberating on whether it could look into the premier’s speech or not in the context of the case.
“These were not regular parliamentary proceedings as the prime minister himself volunteered to say something on the Panama Papers issue,” Justice Khosa said. “Committing a crime is not performance of official duty and the Parliament is not an island where you can do whatever you want,” he added.
Moreover, additional documents have been submitted by Maryam Nawaz’s counsel Shahid Hamid.
Maryam Nawaz in her reply maintained that she was not her father’s dependent after her marriage in 1992 to Captain Safdar, and that she lived with her husband after her wedding.
She also submitted her tax details for the past five years. In 2012, she had filed Rs2,314,917 as income tax, Rs6,517,504 in 2013, Rs8,872,742 in 2014, Rs9,340,243 in 2015 and Rs12,128,778 in 2016.
Maryam Nawaz’s reply stated that five homes comprise the Raiwind Estate which she said belongs to her paternal grandmother. Around 45.5 acres of 48 acres are under her grandmother’s supervision, the reply said.
All the houses in the Raiwind Estate belong to my paternal grandmother, she said. 384 kanals main 364 kanals are under my paternal grandmother’s supervision, she said.
The costs on Shamim Agricultural Farm are jointly paid, the reply said, of which Maryam Nawaz paid RsRs6,000,000 in 2014 and 2015.
She revealed that Rs5 million rupees were spent in 2013 and expenses worth Rs6 million rupees each was recorded in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Total assets owned by the family were valued at Rs73.5431 million in June 2010.
The prime minister’s daughter claimed that 85 kanal 19 marla agricultural land in Mauza Sultankey tehsil of Lahore was purchased in 2011 and she later returned the money to her father through the bank in 2012.
She further told the court that the petitioner has levelled allegations without properly reading the property details.
Requesting the court to include documents and related statements in the record, Maryam urged the Supreme Court to take action against the plaintiffs for levelling baseless allegations against her.
Prior to the hearing, a group of lawyers at the Supreme Court stopped Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders Shafqat Mehmood, Shireen Mazari and Makhdoom Ali Khan from entering the premises of the apex court.
Earlier, Makhdoom Ali Khan said the prime minister could not be disqualified on the basis of his speech under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. He was of the view that since speeches in parliament are privileged, the court cannot question PM about his speech. He also cited decisions by Indian courts that support his claim.
Read more: Panamagate: ‘PM’s speech is privileged’