ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children could be summoned if they contradict their statements given in interviews to different channels regarding the London flats.
PTI counsel Naeem Bukhari wanted the bench to accept the newspaper clippings and said the court in many cases had given judgments on media stories.
A five-member bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, was hearing the petitions of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jammat-e-Islami, PAML and Tariq Asad advocate on the Panama leaks.
Naeem Bukhari briefed the courts about the interviews given by PM Nawaz Sharif, Kalsoom Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz and Maryam Nawaz to different channels within and outside Pakistan.
They had accepted the ownership of the UK properties but contradiction seemed in their statements. He also placed the transcripts of Hassan Nawaz’s interview with Tim Sebastian in Hard Talk, BBC, in November 1999. Maryam Safdar’s interview with Sana Bucha on Geo TV on 8-11-2011, Hussain Nawaz’s interview with Javed Chaudhry on Express TV on 7-3-2016 and Nawaz Shairf’s interview with Hamid Mir on 17-11-2009 and Kalsoom Nawaz’s statement published in The Guardian.
Justice Khosa said there were two types of newspaper stories – one the analysis and comments and the other is the interview and the statement published in the press. Justice Azmat asked the PTI counsel if they accept the newspaper cuttings, his client would also not survive.
He said if statements and the interview of those parties before the court don’t deny, then it is ok, but if they contradict, then they would have to come before the court and face cross-examination. He said if the counsels for the respondents deny the contents of the interviews and the statements, then they would be summoned.
Justice Azmat questioned if the respondents are prepared to face cross-examination.
Justice Ejaz Afzal said: “If a woman says she has no source of income and barrows money from her father, can we say the woman is dependent on her father? And if the father does not mention it in his tax return, should he be disqualified?”
Justice Azmat said they would have to stick to some position as his one argument is that Maryam Nawaz was and is entirely dependent on his father; on the other hand, he contends that she is the beneficial owner of the London flats. He told Bukhari that if he does so, he may lose his case because the respondent’s case is that the UK properties are owned by the Sharif family.
“We want to give full opportunity to everyone as this case was brought before the court for the first time. We don’t want anything to remain unattended.”
On the issue of dependency, the court asked him to satisfy them about the term dependency through the judgments of this court or Indian courts. “We would rely on the judgments,” it said.
Continuing his arguments, Naeem Bukhari pleaded that if the Qatari letter is taken out, it is clear that the Sharif family owned the UK properties in 1994. He said the letter is fictitious. He argued that the PM, in none of the speeches or address to the nation or speech on the floor of the parliament mentioned the investment made in Qatar.
Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa questioned how the letter could be ignored as the children of the prime minister were totally relying on it. He said even if the letter is taken out, even then their stance would remain.
Justice Ejaz Afzal asked if the Qatari letter is fabricated, why the learned counsel is mentioning it repeatedly. He said it could be used for contradictions.
Bukhari submitted that nothing is clear about the transfer of properties of Mian Muhammad Sharif, father of PM Nawaz Sharif, to his grandson Hussain Nawaz, adding it’s not also clear before whom and on which date the will was made and whether other sons and grandsons of Mian Sharif were aware of the will.
Naeem Bukhari contended that the will was not written. Upon that Justice Azmat said they were not hearing the case of inheritance; they were considering the letter.
Justice Gulzar Ahmed, another member of the bench, told the learned counsel that he had so far submitted documents relating to Maryam Nawaz, but had not yet furnished any document about Premier Nawaz Sharif.
Justice Khosa asked him whether he considers the PM or his children dishonest. The PTI counsel replied in positive. The judge asked whether he wanted disqualification of the premier or others also. Bukhari replied the prime minister, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Capt (r) Safdar be disqualified.
He further contended that Premier Nawaz Sharif received Rs 740 million as a gift from his son from 2011 to 2015, but it was not mentioned which son gifted the amount, adding the tax paid on the said amount was also not mentioned.
Meanwhile, in pursuance of the court’s earlier direction, Makhdom Ali Khan, new counsel for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, submitted documents, relating to details of the prime minister’s public office tenures.
The court was informed that the prime minister was provincial finance minister from 1981 to 1985, after which he occupied the office of the Punjab chief minister till 1988.
Likewise, the court was informed that during the period of April-May 1988, he was acting chief minister and he remained the Punjab CM from 1988 to 1990 again.
The reply further stated that he remained prime minister from 1990 to 1993 for the first time; then from 1997 till 1999 for the second time.
The court was informed that the prime minister went in exile to Saudi Arabia in 2000 and returned to the country on November 26, 2007. The reply stated he was elected as prime minister for the third time and took oath on June 5, 2013, and is in office to date.
Meanwhile, the court adjourned the hearing for today (Friday) on which Naeem Bukhari will continue his arguments.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 06-Jan-2017 here.