ISLAMABAD -  The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed review petitions of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his children and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar .

This meant that the July judgment – entailing Sharif’s disqualification and filing of accountability cases against him, his children and others – remains intact and it can’t be challenged anywhere anymore.

In another ominous development for Sharifs and Dar , NAB yesterday submitted before the apex court that it will file an appeal for reopening of Hudabiya Paper Mills case within a week.

A five-member Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa - after hearing arguments and taking a break of one hour - announced dismissal of all the petitions seeking review of July 28 judgment in Panama Papers case.

“For the reasons to be recorded later, all these review petitions are dismissed,” the short order of the court said.

The counsel for Nawaz Sharif, Maryam, Hussain, Hassan Nawaz and Capt (r) Muhammad Safdar said that they were anticipating this decision.

The bench decided the review petitions without issuing notices to the petitioners — PTI chief Imran Khan, JI chief Sirajul Haq, AML chief Sheikh Rasheed and others.

The ruling comes just two days before a by-election to fill Nawaz Sharif's parliamentary seat in Lahore that is being contested by his wife Kalsoom, who is reportedly being treated for throat cancer in London.

The NA-120 seat has long been controlled by PML-N which considers Lahore to be their political stronghold.

On the other hand, NAB Prosecutor General Waqas Qadeer Dar gave the undertaking that an appeal against the Lahore High Court judgment in the Hudabiya Paper Mills case will be filed in the Supreme Court within the next seven days.

He told the apex court that on Thursday, the National Accountability Bureau chairman had approved the filing of the appeal against the LHC judgment in Hudabiya case. He said the direction has also been issued to him to file the appeal.

Sheikh Rashid, who had filed the contempt petition against NAB for not filing the appeal, did not press his application after NAB PG’s statement and the court disposed of the matter.

July judgment and review pleas

Nawaz Sharif was disqualified under section 99(1)(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of Constitution on July 28 as member of the National Assembly by three judges – Justice Ejaz Afzal, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan – for non-declaration of his ‘receivable’ [salary] from Capital FZE in nomination papers.

The other two judges of the bench – Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed – had already disqualified Sharif on April 20 due to discrepancies in his and his children’s statements.

In the final verdict of July 28, the five-judge bench had also ordered the NAB for filing references against Sharifs and Dar . The SC also nominated Justice Ijazul Ahsan as the monitoring judge to oversee the filing of references and the trial in the accountability court.

Last month Nawaz Sharif led legions of supporters from the capital Islamabad to his hometown, Lahore, in a days-long procession that brought thousands into the streets in a show of force. During the trip Sharif repeatedly blasted the court's actions, saying the decision was an "insult" to Pakistanis.

Nawaz and his children latter filed the petitions to review the July judgment on three accounts; not summoning the ex-PM before his disqualification, directing the NAB to file references against the Sharifs and the nomination of the monitoring judge for supervising the trial.

In the long-winded appeals demanding that his case be reviewed, their lawyers presented 19 points challenging the July verdict, saying the ruling suffered "from errors floating on the surface".

 

Raja’s arguments

Earlier, Salman Akram Raja, appearing on behalf of Sharif’s children and his son-in-law adopted the arguments of Khawaja Haris – the counsel for Nawaz Sharif. He, however, contended that Capt (r) Safdar in no way was connected to the Avenfield apartments.

He said that the JIT report also says that Safdar has no links with the UK flats. Upon that, Justice Ijaz Ahsan asked him to read the report further and also look at the trust deed.

Raja replied that Safdar has only signed the trust deed, which was between Maryam and Hussain Nawaz, as a witness. Mere signing the deed does not establish he has any link with the London apartments, he added, opposing apex court’s direction to the NAB to file a reference against him too in the July judgment.

Justice Khosa told him that they did not know what the trial court would decide about him. He, however, said that there appears to be some connection of Safdar with the London property.

The judge pointed out that Maryam too had initially stated that she had no link with the UK flats, but the JIT report revealed that she was the beneficial owner of Neilsen and Nescol companies that owned the flats. “Let the evidence come in the trial court,” Justice Khosa said.

Raja argued that Supreme Court ordered the inquiry and investigation and then directed the NAB to file the reference against Capt Safdar, while under the National Accountability Ordinance, the NAB first conducts inquiry and investigation against a person accused of any crime, and if he is found guilty, then reference is filed in the accountability court.

He contended that in this case, the apex court directed the NAB to file the reference. He argued that when the Supreme Court has given order for investigation and filing of the reference, then how the trial would be fair and impartial.

Justice Azmat said that he must rest assured that they would not allow the trial to be prejudiced. Raja said when the top court decided about the evidence and the material to be presented in the accountability court, then how the trial court would dare give a different decision.

Justice Khosa said that in the Benazir Bhutto case, the Supreme Court and the trial court rendered different decisions. He said that the apex court only examined the constitutional aspect, while the criminal aspects were dealt by the trial courts.

Justice Ejaz Afzal said that they were very careful in their remarks and the orders so the trial did not get prejudiced.

The counsel said that when the directions have been given in the final judgment, then how the trial would be fair and his clients’ fundamental rights would be protected.

Justice Azmat asked the counsel, “Should we (judges) give an affidavit that the trial will not be prejudiced?”

 

 

SC dismisses review pleas of Sharifs , Dar