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National

April 21, 2017

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Panama Leaks case judgment

Panama Leaks case judgment

Live from Courtroom No 1

ISLAMABAD: First they looked extremely tense. Most of them were counting beads as well as reciting verses of Holy Quran. It had been happening for 50 minutes before the order of Panama Leaks was announced on Thursday in the Courtroom No 1.

In a jam-packed beautiful hall, where the worthy judges looked dominating, their tenseness turned into joy. The moment it was announced that three out of the five judges believed that there was apparently not enough evidence to remove the prime minister from his office, the supporters of Sharifs jumped in the air with joy to celebrate what they conceived was a victory after a trailblazing trial that lasted for months.

Head of the bench, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, was looking in commanding position in the courtroom where more than 500 participants witnessed the historic announcement of this case which has already changed the political course of the country.

But the petitioners also found some happiness. The supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Awami Muslim League and Jamaat-e-Islami felt a sigh of relief when two senior most judges of the bench observed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lied to the nation, the Parliament and the Supreme Court by losing integrity in this case.

But many believe that what was left for Sharifs’ opponents to eulogize was only a 'moral victory' because the remaining two judges called for immediate removal of the prime minister. But whether the 'morality' is something one can capitalise in politics in this part of the world is a tricky question, a senior diplomat told this correspondent. "Apparently, it does not," he observed.

The day started with extraordinary enthusiasm. Hundreds of people thronged to the apex court in slightly hot afternoon. Thousands of security personnel were also deputed to safeguard the country’s top court and the adjacent buildings. Red alert was issued for the safety of visitors in the Red Zone the day before yesterday.

As the clock struck 2:03pm, the ‘Panama-bench judges’ took their seats. Everybody was on tenterhooks, including PTI Chairman Imran Khan, in the courtroom which was decorated with the pictures of 24 former chief justices of Pakistan. 13 of 24 former chief judges have been left this world, a senior lawyer told this correspondent. But the picture of Founder of Pakistan dominated the hall whose upper gallery was especially opened for family members of judges who also heard this historic judgment.

The PTI supporters’ faces looked bit gloomy after Justice Khosa completed announcement. Perhaps, they understood their argument to de-seat the prime minister was not accepted by three judges. They left the courtroom quickly and did not talk to press outside the court premises. The N-League supporters, however, shouted slogans like ‘Long live Nawaz Sharif’.

They distributed sweets where Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal were leading the workers."For us, it is our victory," said Salman Akram Raja. Imran Khan also looked happy who told this correspondent that the court had admitted his stance – "Sharifs have now lost moral authority to rule this country”.

Many lawyers repeatedly quoted Justice Khosa's remarks who has borrowed a popular quote from 1969 novel ‘The Godfather’ by Mario Puzo who recounted the violent tale of a 'mafia' family and the epigraph selected by the author was fascinating: Behind every great fortune there is a crime.

Similarly, a story was also being shared by some participants where they were quoting Justice Gulzar Ahmed who observed in his note that “the entire story has been woven around two letters and two affidavits, the contents of which we have found to be dubious and hard to believe”.

 But many also were discussing that Maryam Nawaz was given a clean chit in this order, who also believed that the sword of Panama was still hanging over PM Sharif as the final order will come after the proposed JIT completed its investigation.

 

 

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