SC reserves verdict on video recording of JIT proceedings

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its decision on Hussain Nawaz’s petition challenging the recording of the Panama case Joint Investigation Team (JIT) proceedings.

The three-member special implementation bench was hearing the response of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son, Hussain, on the JIT report over ‘impediments’ faced by it as well as the leaking of Hussain’s interrogation picture.

The JIT is conducting a probe into the prime minister’s family’s international business assets.

During the hearing, Hassan’s counsel Khawaja Harris reiterated his client’s plea that the JIT proceedings should not be recorded on video.

“JIT has no control on the CCTV cameras,” he said, commenting on the JIT’s report on the issue which was submitted to the court on Monday.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who heads the bench, observed that recordings are carried out so as to maintain accurate transcripts, adding that the facts of the case are not being affected by the procedure. The nature of statements also does not change because of it, he commented further.

Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh questioned the petitioner as to what damage the leaking of his picture had done to him? He further commented that the recording of proceedings will help him more than it can hurt him.

When Justice Azmat asked the attorney general (AG) if he has read the JIT’s report submitted in court on Monday, the AG replied in the negative.

The court then directed the AG to examine the JIT’s complaints in detail and inform the bench at 11am on Thursday.

The bench also observed that hindering the work of the JIT is the same as hindering the work of the Supreme Court. The judges reiterated the necessity to ensure the completion of the JIT’s investigation in the given time frame of 60 days.

At the last hearing on Monday, the bench had directed Hussain’s counsel to peruse the report which had been submitted by the JIT after the petitioner approached the court against the leaking of his picture. The report also included ‘impediments’ faced by the JIT in its probe of the Sharif family’s financial dealings, as instructed by the court earlier.

Since Monday’s hearing, the JIT report was leaked to the media and stirred up a controversy as it accused the petitioner of having mala fide intentions and several government organisations of creating hurdles in the high-profile probe by tampering records and pressuring witnesses as well as the investigators.

The report cast the Prime Minister House, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, Ministry of Law, Intelligence Bureau and National Accountability Bureau in a negative light by accusing them of impeding the investigation in various ways.

Regarding the leaking of Hussain’s picture, the JIT said it took action within 24 hours of the picture’s circulation in the media. It stated that necessary action was taken against the official responsible for the leak, who was reverted to his parent department and punished accordingly.



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