Panama Papers case
Tells Imran he can’t plead party’s case due to media campaign against him; Imran leaves for London
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s legal fight against Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his children apparently received a setback after senior party leader and lawyer Hamid Khan on Friday urged the PTI Chairman Imran Khan to spare him from representing the party in the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.
Though Imran sounded optimistic after the hearing on Thursday, it was learnt that he was unhappy with the performance of his legal team, particularly Hamid Khan.
Speculations were also rife hours after the hearing that he was being replaced with some other top lawyer.
The PTI had to issue a clarification earlier in the day that no such decision was taken and that he would continue to represent the party in the apex court.
Hamid telephoned Imran, stating that owing to the ongoing media campaign against him, it was impossible for him to represent the PTI in the apex court.
“After the media campaign during the last 24 hours, it is not possible for me to continue representing the PTI in the Supreme Court,” says the application submitted by Hamid to Imran after his phone call to him.
PTI’s Central Media Department issued a statement, confirming Hamid’s contact with Imran on telephone to express his inability to continue leading the party’s legal team in the Supreme Court.
Appreciating Hamid’s services, Imran said no one could doubt his professional capabilities and commitment. Hamid thanked Imran for acknowledging his contribution but insisted he should be permitted to part ways with the ongoing Panama Leaks case.
A team of senior lawyers, including Hamid Khan and Naeem Bokhari, represent the PTI in the Supreme Court.
The court has questioned the quality of evidence presented by the PTI and deplored the quality of their 686-page evidence with regard to the Sharif family’s alleged tax evasion, money laundering and London properties.
It was learnt that a formal decision on replacement may be made on the return of Imran from London, where he has gone to see his sons. But it is speculated that he might be pushing for more documentary evidence to substantiate the party’s case against the Sharif family.
The first and only intra-party election in the PTI was conducted under Hamid as chief election commissioner, which was declared null and void afterwards by a party commission and then two-member tribunal headed by Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmad.
Imran has sent the party’s Election Commission packing a few weeks back and the hardware and other items were shifted to the PTI Central Secretariat, leaving a question mark on the possibility of party election in future.
The party structure from union council to the slot of chairman is being run on interim basis and the constitution is held in abeyance.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that Babar Awan, who is also part of the legal team of PTI in the case, could be asked to lead the team in the instant matter. However, sources told The News that the party was not going to take such a risk, as Babar Awan was so aggressive and may not be able to argue the case in a better way.
Sources said that senior leaders in the PTI have suggested Imran the name of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan to lead the legal team; however, it was learnt that the decision to change the lead counsel will be finalised after Imran returns from London.
It is pertinent to mention here that commencing his arguments in the Supreme Court the other day, Hamid Khan read out all the three statements of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in parliament and in his address to the nation.
Though the judges heard Hamid for two hours, noting down some of his points, at the same time they snubbed him asking him to come to the point and avoid concentrating on the political statements of the premier.
Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali asked Hamid Khan to provide solid evidence against the Sharif family adding that his arguments could not be substantiated as evidence.
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked Hamid Khan to go through the documents submitted by the Sharif family and dig out something for convincing the court.
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