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July 18, 2017

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Not bound by JIT: SC

Not bound by JIT: SC

ISLAMABAD: Justice Ijazul Ahsan on Monday said the Supreme Court bench was not bound to follow or implement the JIT report.

“The entire country knows the JIT’s findings…we are not bound by them,” he remarked during the arguments submitted by the counsel for the JI.“The counsel has to tell us as to why we should implement the findings,” he said, adding, “Tell us to what extent we can implement the suggestions of the JIT.”

The remarks came as the counsels for the PTI and JI as well as Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed presented their arguments before the three-member bench to disqualify Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the basis of JIT’s findings in the Panama Papers case. They concluded their arguments on Monday but asked the court that they reserved the right of rebuttal.

The bench said the statements would be considered under CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code), adding that the Volume-X of the JIT report could also be opened, if required.Naeem Bukhari, the counsel for PTI, pointed out parts of the report and said in view of the UAE Ministry of Law’s letters, the JIT found Tariq Shafi’s affidavits fake, which were submitted before the Supreme Court.

He said the JIT had submitted the report and it was up to the court to draw a conclusion whether the exercise made by the JIT was according to the parameters set by the bench. He said the Sharif family’s assets exceeded the income and the JIT found that Maryam Nawaz was the beneficial owner of the London flats.

Bukhari requested the apex court to summon the prime minister for cross examination, disqualify him from parliament and send cases against him and his family to an accountability court.

Bukhari termed the Qatari prince’s letter a concocted tale, adding that the London properties had been in possession of the Sharif family since day one.He said one of the respondents gave documents to the JIT. But when Justice Ijaz inquired whether they were certified, the PTI counsel’s reply was in the negative.

Bukhari argued that the JIT wrote four letters to Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani to record his statement but the royal family member’s response was that he was not willing to accept the jurisdiction of Pakistani law. The JIT stated in the report that it was not necessary to record his statement, he added.

During the proceedings, the counsel claimed that the Qatari prince’s letter proved to be bogus.When Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan asked him whether the letter was bogus or the story around that, he replied both were bogus.

Bukhari said the JIT sought legal assistance from the UAE and found that the transaction of 12 million dirhams never took place.

He also contended that it was claimed that the Gulf SteelMills were sold for 33 million dirhams, which wasn’t the case and the Sharif family had been unable to clear its position on the issue.

Taufeeq Asif, representing JI chief Siraj-ul-Haq, said prima facie the case for disqualifying the prime minister had been proved.

He read out the portions of the report wherein the JIT discussed the inconsistencies in the statements of witnesses. He said in his address to the Parliament, the prime minister told a lie.

Sheikh Rashid, in his arguments, said the respondents had not so far contradicted the objections raised by the JIT report.

He said the Sharif family’s wealth was accumulated during the period when they were in power. “There is a face behind every case and the face is of the prime minister in this case,” he remarked.

He lauded the JIT for its efforts and said the six super heroes had completed their work in 60 days, which could not be achieved in a year in ordinary circumstances. He claimed that Saif-ur-Rehman and Sheikh Saeed were the mastermind of the Sharifs’ corruption.

Later, Khawaja Haris, the counsel for prime minister, commenced his arguments and told the court that he had filed an application on behalf of his client, seeking copy of Volume-X of the JIT report besides filing objections to the findings. The court adjourned the hearing until today (Tuesday) wherein Khawaja Haris will continue his arguments.

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