SC adjourns Panama implementation case hearing till Tuesday

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ISLAMABAD, July 17 (APP): A three-member special bench of
the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan on Monday,
adjourned the hearing of the Panama implementation case till
Tuesday.
The court directed the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz
(PML-N) lawyers to present their arguments on Tuesday.
The bench also summoned lawyers of National Accountability
Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to the next
hearing.
Justice Ejaz Afzal asked the counsels to limit their
arguments to the relevant issues so as not to waste the
time of the court and the people.
The counsels of the petitioners concluded their arguments
during the hearing today. This was the first hearing of the case
after the submission of the report by the Joint Investigation
Team (JIT) that probed the Panama paper case.
The counsel of the PTI Naeem Bukhari, Advocate, Taufiq Asif
counsel for Jamaat-i- Islami, Awami Muslim League leader Sheikh
Rasheed Ahmad and the counsel of the Prime Minister Khawaja Haris
argued their respective sides of the case.
At the start of the hearing, Khawaja Haris counsel for Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif and a lawyer for Finance Minister Ishaq Dar
submitted separate objections regarding JIT report.
In the objections filed before the apex court, Khawaja Haris
counsel for the Prime Minister stated that the JIT has exceeded its
mandate given to it by the SC and therefore it rendered “a report
which is nullity in the eyes of the law”.
He said that the major portion of the report of the JIT deals
with matters which have no nexus with the order of the apex court.
“The entire investigation proceedings smack of mala fides
of the JIT members and reportedly witnesses have been brow-beaten, humiliated and threatened in a bid to make them withdraw their
statements favouring my client or otherwise change their statements
in order to suit the objective of the JIT members to frame the
respondents in some wrongdoing or the other.”
He said that “Documents have been procured through means
which are not permissible by law, judicial functions have been
illegally assumed by rendering findings against the respondents,
and that too based on documents which to the knowledge of the
JIT members cannot be considered evidence as per the law of land.”
“Additionally inferences have been drawn against the
respondents by relying upon oral and documentary evidence without confronting the respondents with any of such evidence or soliciting
the respondents’ explanation thereto or providing an opportunity
to them to rebut the same”, he added.
He said “a still image of one of the respondents, (Hussain
Nawaz) was leaked during his examination while his statement was
being reportedly video-recorded by the JIT, statements of so-called witnesses have been recorded.”
“Two huge volumes have been prepared relating to cases which
have already been quashed by the Lahore High Court, Lahore and
regarding which no direction to re-investigate or collect evidence
or to re-open has been given in the order of this court dated April
20, the Chairman NAB was called in order to obtain from him a list
of all pending inquiries/investigations against the Sharif family
and further to demand his explanation as to why these matters were
still pending as also the reason for not filing an appeal in the
apex court against quashment of Reference against Hudaibya Papers
Mills, and commenting adversely on the conduct of and recommending
giving directions to NAB, none of which was the mandate of the JIT
as per orders of the apex court, and was resorted to merely to
prejudice the minds of the Members of this august court, as well
as the general public.”
He saod “Further carrying out surveillance of the movements of
witnesses and reportedly, tapping of their phones unauthorizedly
and without obtaining any permission from the court, using
derogatory language during the investigation and in their report
regarding some of the respondents, misrepresenting in their report
the portion of statements made by the persons on their own and those
in response to the questions put to them by the JIT by mixing up
the two, having a UK firm Quist owned by a cousin of the head of
the JIT, stating before the top court that the report was final
without disclosing that in the report itself.”
“They have purported to unlawfully designate the investigation
as ongoing to the extent of the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA), and stretching the imagination to the limit, in trying to find a way
to implicate my client in some wrongdoing or another”, he added.
He said that further observations made by JIT in the report
based on imaginary threats to their personal and job security, and intimidation of the JIT members and its associated members and
staff, are also designed to prejudice the mind of the apex court
and to subtly malign the respondents in the public eye.
He alleged that in view of the fact that the JIT has
blatantly misused the authority conferred on its members to
seek MLA by hiring private persons/firms/entities, including
the UK firm belonging to cousin of the head of JIT and too
without the intervention of the Foreign State/Government concerned
(as mandated by section 21 (g) of the NAO, 1999), the request
for withholding of Volume X of the JIT report is itself a mala
fide act of the JIT, and in breach of his client’s fundamental
rights guaranteed by Articles 4, 9, 14, 25 and 10A of the
Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.
He said that his client was entitled to the provision of
Volume X of the JIT report to enable him to effectively prepare
his case for submissions before this court, but it has been
deliberately and maliciously withheld in the instant case.