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July 18, 2017

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From courtroom No-II: Will history repeat itself?

From courtroom No-II: Will history repeat itself?

ISLAMABAD: The day everyone was waiting for came and passed away quietly on Monday. There were many in the packed courtroom No-II hoping for the history to repeat itself. It was exactly 24 years ago when Nawaz Sharif was removed from the office of the prime minister in 1993 almost on the same charges he is contesting now. But this time, the scenario is a bit different. In 1993, it was between him and the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan that ultimately led to the endgame. But this time Premier Sharif has to contest corruption charges in the judiciary and his children are also facing serious allegations.

Thousands of people wanted ‘to be an eyewitness of this historic event in the country’s top court on Monday morning with more than 1,200 security personnel were security personnel were deputed on security (both outside and inside of the court) where three judges heard this landmark case. But only some 400 persons could get into the Courtroom No-II. Everyone was asking many questions but two of them very very important—Will the Supreme Court (SC) summon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to testify his statement on the whole issue of Panama papers? Will it (SC) give a direct declaration against him under Articles 62-63 of the Constitution (for his disqualification)? All were eyeing on worthy judges who did not pass any remark about final report of the Joint Investigation of Report (JIT), consisting of 5, 361 pages (With X volumes).

As clock stroke 9:30am, Naeem Bokhari, counsel for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), resumed his arguments on JIT’s findings as hundreds of people were pushing outside the courtroom and even some of them went scuffling with security personnel who were convincing them not to break the door as there was no space in the hall. Suffocation was at its climax when many people sat down on the floor due to asphyxiation in the gallery and in the room as well. Mr Bokhari seemed in hurry and concluded his arguments within 70 minutes. Some 40 minutes before he concluded his arguments, witnesses were questioning why he did not add something new to the JIT report which otherwise endorsed petitioners’ stance in this case. The JIT lengthy report which relied upon 92 % old stuff, 6 % revealed through Panama Case and the rest (2%) linked to new findings of JIT investigators, this correspondent learnt.

It was perhaps the first day some learned lawyers and other observers were defacing (law) books under their feet as courtroom was completely packed and many people were even sitting on each other's lap. Chairman PTI Imran Khan did not turn to the courtroom and Jahangir Tareen and other party leaders were assisting their legal team led by Mr Bokhari. It was former Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Farooq Sattar and former Chairman Senate Nayyar Bokhari who witnessed the proceeding of Panama papers revelations for the first time in the SC. One could also see Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Sirajul Haq sitting next to Awami Muslim League Chief Sheikh Rashid who called worthy judges as "Janab-e-Speaker" during his 20-minutes arguments. More than four dozen parliamentarians were witnessing this proceeding in the SC where Khawaja Haris Ahmed, counsel for the prime minister, will continue his arguments today (Tuesday). PM Sharif raised 28 objections to the JIT report terming its findings “so-called and frivolous.”

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