The children and son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday filed review petitions challenging the Supreme Court’s verdict of July 28 in the Panama Papers case.
The court in its verdict, besides disqualifying Sharif from holding public office, had directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file accountability references against members of the Sharif family.
In their separate petitions filed through Advocate Salman Akram Raja, Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz and Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar requested the court to set aside its instruction to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file corruption references against them relating to the Avenfield properties in London and different offshore companies.
The petitions also urged the Supreme Court to stay the filing of the reference against the applicants until the review petitions are heard and decided by the court.
All four applicants have filed two petitions each — one challenging the judgement of the five-member SC bench, and the other against the verdict reserved by the three-member Panama Papers implementation bench.
The petitioners questioned the probe carried out by the six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on court orders, saying it was “incomplete” and contrary to the requisites of justice. The investigation did not merit filing of references against the petitioners, read the applications, adding that their rights will be comprised by SC’s findings that were based on the JIT report.
The applications stated that in light of the JIT findings, the court has itself become a complainant. The court also did not consider the objections filed by the petitioners against the JIT report, the applicants said.
The petitions question how the SC could order NAB to file a reference against Captain Safdar when “there is no accusation or proof against [him] for the purchase of London flats”.
The children of the ousted premier, and Captain Safdar argued through their appeals that the July 28 decision should have been given by a three-member bench since Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed’s jurisdiction had expired after their dissenting judgement on April 20. Therefore, the petitioners claim, the five-member bench did not have the authority to rule on the JIT report.
They have also contended that three judges of the bench, who supervised implementation of the April 20 verdict and oversaw the investigations, should not have ruled on the JIT report.
Additionally, the petitions say that the appointment of Justice Ijazul Ahsan as the ‘monitoring judge’ for the proceedings of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and accountability courts is against the fundamental rights of the applicants, and violates Articles 4, 10-A, 25 and 175 of the Constitution.
The accountability courts will not be able to proceed freely after the monitoring judge’s appointment, the petitions claim.
There is no provision in the law and Constitution that allows supervision of the proceedings of accountability courts, they state, adding that the court can only rule that the accountability courts work according to the law.
The development came over a week after the deposed prime minister challenged the judgement that disqualified him as member of the National Assembly. Sharif was disqualified for failing to declare unclaimed salary earned as an executive of a Dubai-based company owned by his son in the assets statement he filed alongside his nomination papers for NA-120 in 2013 general election.
The former premier, through his counsel Khawaja Haris, on August 15 filed three similar review petitions under Article 188 of the Constitution over the court’s ruling regarding his disqualification and its direction asking NAB to file references against him and his children.
Later on August 21, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar questioned SC’s authority to make a judgement about his assets being beyond his means in a petition filed under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.