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January 25, 2017

Material, not evidence, submitted: SC

Top Story

January 25, 2017

PanamaLeaks case

Hints at summoning PM if required; Justice Azmat asks JI counsel what will happen if evidences were found useless under the Law of Evidence; says judgment in Zafar Ali Shah case did talk about alleged corruption but gave no verdict; Maryam says she’d never been beneficial owner of London flats

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court judge, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, on Tuesday reminded the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) counsel that ‘not evidence but material’ had been furnished with the court in the PanamaLeaks case.

Justice Khosa heads the five-member bench hearing a set of petitions seeking a probe into the Leaks. The observation came when Sheikh Ahsanuddin, another lawyer who represents the JI, argued that since all the evidence had been brought forward, the court had a great responsibility. 

"What evidence?" Justice Gulzar Ahmed remarked. Justice Khosa said: “You can call them materials, not evidence." Justice Azmat Saeed asked what will happen if these evidences were found useless under the Law of Evidence.

The court said it will summon Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to record his statement, if required. Concluding his arguments, the JI counsel requested the court to summon the prime minister for recording his statement and cross-examination.

Justice Khosa observed that after hearing the counsel of all the respondents, the court will decide whether or not to summon the prime minister.

Meanwhile, Maryam Safdar, daughter of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, denied being the beneficial owner of the London flats and said her lawyer would satisfy the bench with comprehensive arguments on his turn.

She filed an application, through her counsel Shahid Hamid, under Order XXXIII Rule 6 of the Supreme Court Rules 1980 for placing on record some additional documents. Maryam contended that Hussain Nawaz was the sole owner of the flats and the family members had no issue about it. She said her brother had two wives with different nationalities.

She said Hussain Nawaz wanted to distribute money among the children according to the Shariah. Maryam said she had accepted the contract authority of Minerva Company on the will of her brother but never met any of its staff members.

“I was assured that practically there would be no life-time burden on me, as Hussain Nawaz would handle all matters,” she said, adding that the settlement between Hussain Nawaz and Al-Thani family was done in Jan 2006. 

“After that, Minerva directors were appointed and thereafter the Trust Deed was drawn up and signed by me.” Maryam said she lived with her husband and children in Jeddah during the exile. She also denied the emails and documents of BVI and Mossack Facensa.

Meanwhile, Shahid Hamid, the counsel for Maryam and her spouse Captain (retd) Safdar, filed a statement on the behalf of Maryam. The court first rejected the statement for not being properly signed, but when the counsel signed it on behalf of his client, the court made it part of the record. Her statement was read out in the court stating that she had been married to a serving captain in December 1992 who was later inducted into the civil service. 

He got commission in 1986 and had been paying his taxes since that time. Maryam said they took up residence in one of the five houses at the Shamim Agri Farm, Raiwind, owned by her grandmother.

“We have three children, one son and two daughters. The son is presently studying at Durham University while the elder daughter has been recently married,” she contended 

She also gave details of their exiled life in Saudi Arabia along with her parents, grandparents and other family members. She said her husband was further victimised and his services were unlawfully terminated.

“I have never been my father’s dependent since my marriage in 1992 and was certainly not his dependent when he filed his nomination papers for the May 2013 election," Maryam said, adding that she had never been the beneficial owner of the London flats and never derived any income or profit or financial benefit from these flats.

Earlier, concluding his arguments, JI counsel Taufeeq Asif, while referring to Zafar Ali Shah’s case, submitted that in the said judgment the London flats of Sharif family had been mentioned.

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, however, told the counsel that the court was interested in the findings of the judgment. Justice Azmat observed that the said judgment did talk about the alleged corruption but did not give its verdict on the alleged corruption adding that the judgments also did not talk about the London flats.

Justice Ijaz Afzal Khan observed that the verdict had ruled that the prime minister had failed in good governance. At one point, Justice Ijaz observed that the counsel had made a mockery of the case, as Khalid Anwar was not representing the prime minister but the petitioner in Zafar Ali Shah’s case.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed told the JI counsel that he was ignoring the basic principles of law and brought as much damage to his client as he possibly could.  Justice Gulzar observed that the apex court had declared in the Khewra Mines case that it can record evidence under Article 184(3) of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Shahid Hamid submitted that five references related to the Panama issue were pending with the Election Commission and the Lahore High Court adding that there were allegations that the gifts received by Maryam Nawaz from her father were not disclosed by her spouse Captain Safdar in his tax returns.

Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed asked the counsel whether it was mandatory in law that wife’s assets should be disclosed in the tax returns. 

Shahid Hamid replied in the negative saying that Maryam Nawaz was also a taxpayer but the counsel said that tax returns were submitted with the nomination papers as well. He said Captain Safdar had been paying taxes since 1986 and his National Tax Number (NTN) was made in 2013.

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, however, asked the counsel if he was mentioning the issue of nomination papers, as the petitioners had not raised the allegation of nomination papers.

The counsel questioned as to how a reference pending with the Election Commission could be taken up under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. 

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa observed that there were some allegations leveled against the prime minister pertaining to his daughter Maryam Safdar.

Shahid Hamid said the petitioners did not make any prayer against Maryam Safdar while Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed did not make Maryam Safdar, Captain Safdar and Ishaq Dar as respondents.

Justice Ijaz Afzal Khan told the counsel that he will have to give arguments about Maryam’s dependency on her father. Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing until today (Wednesday) and Shahid Hamid will continue his arguments.


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