SC adjourns hearing of Panama case till Dec 9

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 7 (APP): The Supreme Court Wednesday adjourned hearing of the four identical petitions filed by PTI and others seeking investigation into the Panama Papers till Friday (Dec 9).

The apex court asked the counsels to consult with their clients whether they would prefer a commission to be formed to probe the case further or to have the court make decisions.

The chief justice remarked that incomplete evidence had been submitted before the court. “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Counsel Naeem Bukhari has submitted documents, downloaded from the internet. Such documents are not admissible evidence,” he observed.

PTI counsel Naeem Bukhari has sought time to submit opinion regarding formation of judicial commission to probe the Panama Papers case.

A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Amir Hani Muslim, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan heard the case.

During the course of proceedings, Salman Aslam Butt counsel for the prime minister appeared before the court and resumed his arguments in the case.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked Salman Butt that when did the prime minister buy the land for Maryam Nawaz and when did she pay back the money for the property to her father.

The father paid the money to the daughter as a gift, which she returned to him in lieu of the land, he observed.

He also asked the prime minister’s counsel to inform the court about the residential address of Maryam Nawaz.

Salman Butt replied that Maryam Nawaz lived in Jati Umra with other family members.

Salman Butt said that the PTI had mixed up arrears/liabilities with assets.

Justice Khosa remarked that recording of proof and evidence was not the court’s job and an inquiry commission had to be formed to scrutinize the documents for which all options were open.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that PTI argued that the trustee of the company should pay tax properly to which the prime minister’s counsel said that no tax was being paid for offshore company, because if such had been the case, there would have been no offshore company.

Salman Butt said that there were dozens of files in his office and Panama Papers had no legal or certified status. He said that according to the PTI the liabilities of Dubai Mill was 36 million dirhams, while its lawyer Naeem Bukhari put the amount at two million in electricity dues which were paid off in installments.

Justice Azmat asked who paid the installments. Butt replied that Tariq Shafi paid all the installments.

Justice Azmat Saeed asked if the mill was running in losses and was sold, how the arrears were paid. Salman Butt replied that how a 40-year old record could be produced, as Dubai’s banks do not keep record for more than five years. The record of our companies was sealed and taken into possession after the 1999 martial law, he argued.

Justice Amir Hani Muslim remarked that little arguments are being given in the court, but much more are being given in the media. The courts would make the decision about the case on the basis of documents that were before it.