Sharif failed to prove he did not take salary from son’s company, SC observes

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday observed that disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif did not submit any documentary evidence in the apex court in support of his ‘verbal’ claim of not using any salary from his son’s UAE-based company, Capital FZE.

Sharif was disqualified by the SC under Article 62(1)(f) for failing to declare unclaimed wages earned as an executive of the Dubai-based company owned by his son in the assets statement he filed alongside his nomination papers for NA-120 constituency in the 2013 general elections.

“When it is mentioned in the agreement that Nawaz Sharif will be entitled to a salary then how can we determine through an oral submission that he had no intention to withdraw it,” Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan questioned Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Harris during the hearing of the two review petitions filed by the ruling family. “There should be a document in black and white under Article 103 of Qanoon-i-Shahadat 1984 that he had no intention to withdraw the salary,” he added.

Referring to a document attached in Volume IX of the investigation report compiled by a six-member joint investigation team (JIT), another judge Justice Ijazul Ahsan said: “An account was opened by the company to disburse his remuneration and in August 2013 the salary was transferred [into the account].”

However, Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh observed that under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, the top court only decides cases on the basis of admitted facts and it would not go beyond the admitted facts.

Arguing his case, Harris submitted that Sharif did not open the account to get salary.

“The SC cannot disqualify a member of National Assembly under Article 62 (1) (f) on the basis of mere omission,” he maintained, adding that it was the first case wherein the apex court disqualified any parliamentarian.

When the counsel objected over referring the matter to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for filing corruption references against the ruling family, Justice Khan remarked that the apex court never concluded that the JIT report was conclusive and that the Sharifs should be convicted on the basis of that report.

“We don’t accept that the JIT report is final. The trial court shall be free to draw its own inference on the basis of evidence examined by it,” he observed, reiterating that the SC exercised restraint and tried not to write anything which could affect the case.

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, who is heading the five-judge larger bench, observed that the court has already expressed its reservations about NAB’s conduct. “How can we completely rely on it when it has already dragged the matter?”

Meanwhile, Justice Sheikh urged the Sharif family to have faith in the SC and “not in the streets”, referring to the campaign being run by the ruling family targeting the country’s superior judiciary.

After Harris completed his arguments, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s counsel Shahid Hamid began presenting his arguments.

Hamid argued that his client’s assets did not grow overnight but expanded over a course of 15 years.

The hearing was then adjourned until Friday.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the court had remarked that all judges hearing the Panama Papers case had unanimously disqualified Nawaz Sharif.

 



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