SC adjourns Panamagate case hearing till Tuesday

Accountability resumes hearing of references against Sharif family

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday adjourned the Panamagae case hearing against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and family till tomorrow.
A five-member larger bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa resumed the hearing of Panama Leaks case. Other judges in the bench include Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan.
Makhdoom Ali Khan, the counsel of the Prime Minister, on Monday submitted before the bench details about the properties and their settlement amongst the family members of the prime minister.
Salman Akram Raja, the counsel of Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz started his arguments. He pleaded that Hussain Nawaz is the beneficial owner of the London flats. He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has no link with the London flats. Salman Akram Raja will continue his arguments.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted record pertaining to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s apology in Supreme Court.
NAB submitted the record of Ishaq Dar’s statement in Supreme Court. According to the record Ishaq Dar submitted his application for pardon on April 20, in year 2000. Chairman NAB approved his plea for pardon on April 21. The investigation officer submitted request for recording the statement of Dar on April 24 and his confessional statement was recorded on April 25th.
Shahid Hamid, the counsel of Ishaq Dar, in his arguments said that the disqualification plea against his client was dismissed in intra-court appeal, while the decision of dismissing references against Nawaz Sharif and other have already been quoted.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa asked, the court had ordered in the decision to dismiss the reference and not to investigate the matter? The counsel said that the division bench had difference over the re-investigation of the matter, so the referee judge decided the matter. “The court decision challenged in the Supreme Court?” Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked.
Shahid Hamid said that the decision was not challenged in the Supreme Court. The appeal time against the court decision has been lapsed.
Justice Ijaz Afzal said that Ishaq Dar’s confession was recorded after he became the approver. The counsel said that the money laundering case against his client has been ended. He could not be disqualified over mere allegations. According to the NAB record Ishaq Dar is not an accused now, the lawyer said.
The counsel said that the statement of an approver taken on oath could not be used against him. Justice Ijaz Afzal remarked that the statement can not be used against Ishaq Dar but can be used against the prime minister.
Shahid Hamid said that under the criminal procedure code clause 26, his client Ishaq Dar could not be tried again.
Justice Azmat Saeed observed that ” We will not here review the confession of Ishaq Dar even the petitioner pleads for it. The principle of Double Jeopardy will be applied over Ishaq Dar,” the Justice said.
Justice Ijaz Afzal remarked, ” Ishaq Dar was not sentenced in the case. Thus, the principle of Double Jeopardy could not be applied here.”
Justice Azmat asked the counsel to give his arguments over the point that a man in the same case can be tried twice or not?”
Shahid Hamid said that the statement was taken from his client by telling him that otherwise he would not be allowed to leave the Attock Fort.
After hearing the arguments the bench summoned written reply from concerned departments for not filing appeal against the acquittal of Ishaq Dar. “Why the NAB, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the State Bank didn’t file appeal against acquittal of Ishaq Dar,” Justice Khosa asked.
The Attorney General said that the written reply will be submitted to the court.
In the previous hearing, the bench directed the prosecutor National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to produce the record of confessional statement of Ishaq Dar he made in Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference.
Shahid Hamid representing Finance Minister Ishaq Dar argued that “my client being blamed for recording a confessional statement before a magistrate on April 25, in year 2000.”
The statement said that Ishaq Dar confessed 14.866 million rupees money laundering. It has also been alleged that the accounts were opened for the brother of the prime minister, the counsel said. “Whether Ishaq Dar refuses to accept the affidavit”, Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked the counsel. Shahid Hamid said his client denies the statement.
The Counsel said that his client was detained at house after the military coup and was offered a government post on ‘cooperation’.
He was made to sign the statement with force and was arrested after the statement recorded, Shahid Hamid said. He was kept under detention till year 2001, the counsel further said.
The counsel said that in a detailed interview after his release, his client refuted the confession statement. “If the magistrate hadn’t attest it, it is nothing more than a piece of a paper,” Justice Ijaz Afzal remarked.
Counsel Shahid Hamid said Ishaq Dar was detained on October 15, 1999. Hudaibiya Engineering and Hudaibiya Paper Mills case was filed in 1994. Mian Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Abbas Sharif, Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Hamza Shahbaz were nominated in the case, Ishaq Dar’s lawyer said.
The charge-sheet on the FIR was submitted and the case was decided in 1997. A lower court dismissed the charge-sheet and acquitted the accused in 1997, the lawyer said.
Justice Asif Khosa said that only charge-sheet was withdrawn on a petition, the FIR still exists. How the accused acquitted in the case?
The counsel said that the statement has been nothing more than a piece of paper. “It is not a piece of paper, it is part of an evidence on which no action taken,” Justice Khosa said. The NAB reference was dismissed as the investigation not made according to the law.


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