SC approves Sharifs’ plea to form 5-member bench to review Panamagate verdict

  • Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed heard the case
  • Former PM's children have already filed a petition seeking five-member bench for review petitions

ISLAMABAD – Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday approved a petition filed by the Sharif family to set up a five-member bench to hear the review petitions against the Panamagate verdict, which had disqualified the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for not being honest and ordered a NAB reference against them.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed took up the petitions filed by former PM Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz, Captain Safdar and Ishaq Dar against the July 28 verdict announced by a five member bench of the court.

Counsel for former PM’s children Salman Akram Raja presenting arguments before the court stated that the decision of Panama case five-member bench will not change even if they get relief from the three-member bench.

He pleaded the court to form a five-member bench to review the Panama verdict. After his arguments, the court approved the application and sent it to Chief Justice Saqib Nisar to fix the case before a five member bench.

Raising objections over the formation of three-member bench for review petitions, the children of ousted PM on Monday moved the court to adjourn the hearing and pleaded the court to fix hearing of review petitions before a five-member bench.

In the petition submitted by Advocate Salman Akram Raja through Advocate-on-Record, Sharifs are of the view that the three-member bench technically would not be able to reverse the decision of the five-member bench; therefore, a five-member bench should be set up.

It may be mentioned here that Nawaz Sharif, his children and son-in-law had filed petitions challenging the verdict. They are of the view that legal requirements were not fulfilled while announcing the verdict.

Deposed PM Nawaz’s children file appeals against Panamagate verdict

Panama Papers verdict

On April 20, Supreme Court’s Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had announced the Panama Leaks case decision comprising 540 pages, saying that the court issued a split ruling calling for a JIT. Two of the five judges went on to brand Sharif “dishonest” and saying he should be disqualified. However, the 3-2 split decision provided Sharif family a chance to prove their innocence and clear their names from Panama leaks.

Following the decision, the apex court formed a six-member inquiry team that included Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia, Military Intelligence’s Brig Kamran Khurshid, National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, State Bank of Pakistan’s Amer Aziz, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan’s (SECP) Executive Director Bilal Rasool and Inter-Services Intelligence’s Brig Muhammad Nauman Saeed.

The JIT members, during the seven-week period, interrogated eight members of the Sharif family including Nawaz Sharif, his younger brother Shehbaz Sharif, sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, daughter Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law Captain Safdar, cousin Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and brother-in-law Ishaq Dar and submitted its report on July 10.

On July 28, the five-judge larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan after a week-long hearings unanimously disqualified Nawaz Sharif.

“It is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from Capital FZE Jebel Ali, UAE in his nomination papers filed for the General Elections held in 2013 in terms of Section 12(2)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (ROPA), and having furnished a false declaration under solemn affirmation respondent No. 1 Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is not honest in terms of Section 99(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and therefore he is disqualified to be a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).”