A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, resumed hearing on Friday (today) in the petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami Muslim League (AML).
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s lawyer Shahid Hamid addressed allegations against his client pertaining to the Hudaibiya Paper Mills default reference investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Hamid stated the allegations against the defendant claim that Dar submitted a confessional statement regarding money laundering before the magistrate on April 25, 2000.
Allegations against Dar also claim he admitted to money laundering of $14.86 million and opening two bank accounts under the names of Sikandar Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi for Nawaz Sharif’s brother, Hamid said.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked if Dar denied his confession, to which Hamid assented, saying that Dar had denied his statement completely.
Hamid read from Dar’s confessional statement in court: “After the military coup, I was first kept under house arrest then was offered a position in that government in exchange for cooperation.”
“I was made to sign a pre-written statement and then was arrested again.”
“The army kept me captive till 2001, after which I told Rauf Klasra everything in a detailed interview and denied the statement that I was made to sign at the time,” he finished.
After the statement was read, Justice Ejaz Afzal asserted that if the magistrate in front of whom the statement was read was unable to verify its authenticity, it would be no more than a piece of paper.
Hamid concurred, saying, “the statement is nothing more than a piece of paper.”
At this Justice Asif Saeed Khosa intervened, saying the statement is not just a piece of paper but a part of the evidence on which no action has been taken.
Justice Afzal wondered how the top court could have given such a verdict in a writ petition. Justice Khosa replied that the NAB reference had been discarded because the investigation was not conducted according to the law.
He added that the court had disposed of the case on the basis of technicalities.
NAB had made the same allegations in their case as the Federal Investigation Agency made in theirs, Hamid argued, adding that the court had already acquitted the defendants in a 1997 trial.
In 1997, the case against Dar was heard by a two-judge bench in an intra-court appeal which is ordinarily heard by a five-member bench, Justice Khosa remarked.
The 1992 protection law keeps the court from hearing a case in which the defendant has already been acquitted, Hamid replied.
Justice Khosa asked if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was the premier and Ishaq Dar the minister for finance, to which Hamid replied that Dar was not the finance minister ─ or even a MNA ─ at the time.
The NAB chairman should have appealed to the Supreme Court in the case, Justice Ejaz Afzal observed, adding that the Supreme Court would have ordered a reinvestigation.
The NAB prosecutor general will be present in court to provide assistance with respect to Dar’s case when the hearing resumes Monday, Justice Khosa said.
The apex court ordered that the NAB prosecutor general’s record in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference regarding Dar’s statement be submitted in court.
Justice Khosa posed a question in court directed towards the NAB prosecutor general, asking if Dar’s acquittal before the court was conditional or unconditional and whether the finance minister had been acquitted before he gave his statement or after.
Hamid responded that the statement had been recorded after Dar was acquitted, but he remained imprisoned from 1999 to 2000 even after his statement was recorded.
Khosa observed that Dar was not a suspect at the time his statement was recorded, adding that a person who is not guilty fights his case rather than accepting acquittal.
-PM’s counsel seeks more time to submit documents-
The Sharif family’s lawyer Makhdoom Ali Khan held out assurance to the Supreme Court that details regarding distribution of properties of late Mian Muhammad Sharif, father of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, will be submitted in the next hearing on Monday.
Mian Muhammad Sharif was an industrialist, a business tycoon and the founder of Ittefaq Group. He is the father of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif. He died in 2004 at Jeddah during his family exile.
Earlier, the counsel of Hussain Nawaz, the eldest son of PM Nawaz Sharif, submitted a second letter from the Qatari ruling family before the court, reaffirming their earlier claim that his grandfather had invested 12 million dirhams in the Al-Thani family’s business in the 1980s.
On Nov 15, Hussain had submitted the first Qatari letter, explaining how the rulers of the Gulf state had supported the Sharif family, which eventually led to him acquiring the four Park Lane flats in the UK.
The letter was from Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, former prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar.