Pakistan’s Supreme Court to announce Panamagate any moment

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Abdul Basit

Islamabad – The court No.1 is all set to announce the verdict in Panamagate case as all judges reached in the court room.
The Supreme Court will announce its decision on the Panamagate case around 11:30am on Friday, revealed a notification issued by the registrar of the Supreme Court.
The landmark verdict will be announced in Courtroom 1 of the Supreme Court building in the Capital.
Opposition parties hoped the prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be disqualified in the verdict along with a couple of ministers. On the other side government side claims the verdict will be in favour of Nawaz Sharif.
A three-member implementation bench of the apex court had concluded hearing the petitioners and defendants on July 21, giving them time to respond to the Supreme Court-sanctioned joint investigation team’s (JIT) report on the Sharif family’s financial dealings, submitted on July 10.
The original five-member bench of the Supreme Court which heard the Panama Papers case is going to issue the final verdict. Justices Asif Saeed Khosa, Ejaz Afzal Khan, Gulzar Ahmed, Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Ijazul Ahsan will be present for the hearing.
Special security arrangements have been made. Besides police from the Security Division and Operations Division, Rangers and FC personnel will also deployed.
Entry to the court premises will only be allowed through passes being issued by the Supreme Court Registrar. The media will be issued passes through the Supreme Court’s public relations officer. No unauthorised person will be allowed to enter the capital’s Red Zone.
The April 20 judgement issued by the larger bench in the Panama Papers case had been split 3-2 among the five judges, with two dissenting notes from Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed. Justice Ejaz Afzal authored the majority opinion in the 540-page judgement.
The two judges who ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif had said he should be disqualified as he could not be considered ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’ (ameen and sadiq), whereas the other three were in favour of forming a JIT to definitively answer the question of whether the allegations against the prime minister were true or not.
A special bench of the Supreme Court was constituted to examine the case under Section 184/3 of the Constitution. The bench comprised the three judges who had prevailed.
The court had further said that: “upon receipt of the reports, periodic or final of the JIT, as the case may be, the matter of disqualification of respondent No. 1 [Nawaz Sharif] shall be considered. If found necessary for passing an appropriate order in this behalf, [Nawaz Sharif or any other person may be summoned and examined.”
The Supreme Court had on May 6 formed the JIT, putting a senior officer of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in charge.
After considering the background and antecedents of the officer, FIA’s Additional Director General Wajid Zia, a grade 21 officer, was appointed head of the probe team.
Amer Aziz of the State Bank of Pakistan, Executive Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Bilal Rasool, National Accountability Bureau Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, Brig Muha­mmad Nauman Saeed of Inter-Services Intelligence and Brig Kamran Khurshid of the Military Intelligence were appointed as the remaining members of the team.
The six-member JIT’s damning report, submitted after a 60-day investigation that sought answers to 13 questions raised by the Supreme Court’s larger bench, had maintained that Prime Minister’s family owned assets beyond its known sources of income. It declared that both Hussain and Hassan Nawaz were used as proxies to build family assets.
Consequently, the six-man JIT concluded that it was compelled to refer to sections 9(a)(v) and 14(c) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999, which deal with corruption and corrupt practices, though such charges are yet to be proven in an accountability court.
The JIT pointed out failure on the part of the Sharifs to produce the required information that would confirm their “known sources of income”, saying that prima facie, it amounted to saying that they were not able to reconcile their assets with their means of income.
The prime minister’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, had on the same evening issued a strongly-worded statement on behalf of the PML-N, saying: “JIT report REJECTED. Every contradiction will not only be contested but decimated in SC. NOT a penny of public exchequer involved: PMLN.”
Her tweet followed a press conference conducted by four senior PML-N leaders, who had taken turns to criticise the JIT report as ‘serving Imran Khan’s agenda’.