Panama case hearing: Opposition’s counsels seek PM’s disqualification

Three counsels of petitioners – Naeem Bukhari advocate of PTI, Taufeeq Asif advocate of Jamaat-e-Islami and Sheikh Rashid of Awami Muslim League – have concluded their arguments before the Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan-led 3-member Supreme Court bench formed for implementation of Panama case verdict of April 20. Also, Khawaja Haris, counsel of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif submitted two separate applications before the SC. One application has sought provision of Volume X of JIT report and another one rejecting the JIT report and dismissing of constitutional petitions against PM and his family.

Bukhari concludes his arguments

Naeem Bukhari advocate during his arguments reiterated that Nawaz Sharif was the chairman of the FZE Capital while being oblivious about whether the documents were bought through MLA (Mutual Legal Assistance) as the matter was for the Joint Investigation Team to answer.

Bukhari stressed on many observations and points in the final JIT report and told the court that the UAE Justice Ministry had not been able to verify the April 14, 1980 transaction of Gulf Steel Mills and said that the Sharif family has totally failed to prove their statements regarding the Gulf Steel Mills in Dubai and how the investment with Thani family was made.

“The Qatari letter was and still is a concocted tale,’ Bukhari told the court while admitting that the documents were not certified and didn’t contain signatures on a query by Justice Ahsan about the certification of documents.

Taking his arguments further, Bukhari said the JIT wrote four letters to the Qatari royal to record his statement but the royal family member said he was not willing to accept the jurisdiction of Pakistani law. “Even the JIT stated in its report that it is not necessary to record his statement,” he said further.

An interesting remark was made by the Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif appeared before the probe team not as an accused but in the capacity of a witness, thus his statement can be used to identify discrepancies between statements made by other witnesses.

Justice Ejaz Afzal remarked at one point that if need arises, they can open up the Volume 10 that pertains to Mutual Legal Assistance that has not been made public in light of JIT’s request.

JI counsel takes Stage

Taufeeq Asif, counsel of Jamaat-e-Islami relied heavily to read entire excerpts from the JIT report only to be reminded by Justice Ejaz-ul-Ahsan that the findings of JIT are known to entire Pakistan, ‘Now you have to tell us that why should we implement the findings of the JIT,’ he remarked. Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked the counsel that to what extent the recommendations can be implemented by us. Asif told the court that the report of JIT has ample substance for disqualification of PM.

Sheikh Rashid takes the podium

Awami Muslim League (AML) President Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who is also a petitioner in the Panama case, took the rostrum after JI’s Taufeeq Asif and addressed the court in his signature style and reminded the court that his petition was all about Article 62, 63 of Constitution of Pakistan.

Sheikh Rashid said that he absolutely knows that who acted as the front men for Nawaz Sharif and named Saifur Rehman and Sheikh Saeed as front men. Rashid said that Rehman was a former government official and an old associate of the Sharif family and reiterated that Maryam Nawaz Sharif has been proved as the beneficial owner of London flats.

During the fag end of the briefing, the counsel of Sharif family, Khawaja Harris submitted two applications before the court one asking the court to direct the Joint Investigation Team to provide the Volume X of the JIT report before proceeding further in the case and another application that called for rejection of the report submitted by JIT. The hearing had been adjourned till today (Tuesday).