Saturday July 20, 2024

Panama case: PM in or out, SC decides today

By Sohail Khan
July 28, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court will today (Friday) announce its verdict in the Panama case related to the allegations against the Sharif family for their alleged money laundering and establishing properties abroad and the people of the country will know whether Nawaz Sharif will remain the prime minister of Pakistan or not.

According to the cause list issued on Thursday, a five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and including Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsen, will announce the judgment at 11:30am.

A three-member special implementation bench on the Panama verdict, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and comprising Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsen on July 21, had reserved the judgment with the ruling to look into the matter of disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying that fundamental rights of both the petitioners and respondents would be fully protected.

Similarly, the five-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, had announced its judgment on April 20.

In a 3-2 split decision, thejudgment on April 20.

In a 3-2 split decision, the majority judges determined that the available evidence was insufficient to disqualify the prime minister outright and directed for the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the case and collect evidence, if any, showing that Nawaz Sharif or any of his dependents or benamidar owns, possesses or acquired assets or any interest therein disproportionate to their known means of income.

Two judges -- Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed -- had recommended disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The court had directed Nawaz Sharif, his sons, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz, respondents No 1, 7 and 8 to appear and associate themselves with the JIT as and when required.

Later on, a six-member JIT was formed by the implementation bench on Panama verdict which included Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia, Military Intelligence’s Brigadier Kamran Khurshid, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, State Bank of Pakistan’s Amer Aziz, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Executive Director Bilal Rasool and Inter-Services Intelligence’s Brigadier Muhammad Nauman Saeed.

The JIT members during the seven-week period interrogated eight members of Sharif family including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif, sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, daughter Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law Captain Safdar, cousin Tariq Shafi, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Chairman NAB etc and submitted its report on July 10.

In its report, the JIT on July 10 found the family of living beyond means, concealment of facts and being beneficial owners of multiple offshore companies and recommended initiation of reference against the PM and members of the ruling family in the NAB.

The report highlighted the failure of the Sharif family to provide a money trail for its London apartments and claimed the prime minister and his children own assets beyond their known sources of income.