LAHORE - During the 126 days of Panama leaks case proceedings, politicians loudly voiced to accept the full bench decision albeit the PML-N made its claims doubtful as its leaders stooped to hurl veiled and open threats not only to the rival politicians but also to the Supreme Court judges.
The PML-N, the PTI, the JI and the AML, conspicuous for being party to the case, invariably laid bare their mind till conclusion of the proceedings. Their bashing and faceoff to take lead over others to stretch the Supreme Court remarks and observations to their favour also continued in their private and public gatherings.
The harsher remarks no doubt came from the ruling PML-N which had the team mainly comprising State Minister for Information Maryam Aurengzeb, MNA Talal Ch, MNA Danyal Aziz, MNA Maiza Hameed, while Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafiq, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sana Ullha Khan, State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, and former Information minister Senator Parvez Rashid also did not lag behind in their tirade against the rival and passed remarks which indirectly threatened the court.
The spate of commenting on the decision and passing statements against each other crossed such limits that the premier had to intervene to stop his party ministers and other party leaders.
To counter the official team, the opposition was mainly represented by Imran Khan, PTI spokesman Fawad Ch, MNA Naeemul Haq, MNA Shafqat Mahmood and MNA Shirin Mazari. The JI and AML were represented by their respective heads, Sirajul Haq and Sheikh Rashid Ahmad. The PPP did take part in this tug of war but only as a spectator.
The five-judge bench quizzed the parties from different angel to fathom the truth and their utterances were widely debated by media to assess direction of the proceedings and the possible outcome. At close of the case, the court reserved the decision on the note that instead of short, a detailed verdict will be passed that will be remembered for the next two decades. Later hearing a separate case, a member of the same bench remarked “the Panama case will be remembered for centuries”.
In a public face-to-face, PM Nawaz Sharif said “his life was an open book” to mean that there was no secrecy about his life and he had nothing to hide. However, during the course of proceeding, the SC bench remarked the pages of Nawaz Sharif’s book were not complete in number.
Khwaja Saad, later in a public appearance, said in very furious and harsh tone that “who says the pages of the Nawaz Sharif book are not complete must apply his mind and see they are complete”. Going a step ahead, the Railways minister said “Nawaz Sharif or the PML-N are ‘grams of steel’ that would not be masticated that easily.”
Punjab law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, in media interaction, tried to inspire fear in the court and among the rivals, saying the PML-N workers are highly charged up over what is being said against their leadership they have been forcibly constrained from coming out. Himself a lawyer, Rana Sana was well familiar with the court proceedings as such his statement was not taken in good taste at the public level.
Marriyum Aurengzeb at one stage of hearing passed very nocuous remarks against the court that it could not disqualify even an MNA what to say of deseating the prime minister.
The PML-N leaders constantly stated to exonerate Nawaz Sharif in Panama case while the petitioners held him the main culprit of evading tax on the money used to purchase the London apartments and not mentioning this fact in the nomination papers before the election.
The ruling members termed Imran Khan a liar, agent of the foreign powers and roped in his personal matters relating to Sita White and Tryrian while Imran Khan repeatedly said that first time in the national history a ‘big fish’ has been caught up for ‘search’ by the court. He had been quite vocal that the decision will change course of Pakistan history and will be a cornerstone to check corruption and looting of the public money.
The petitioners massively highlighted contradictions in statements of PM and his children about purchase of flats, distribution of family assets and transaction adopted to pay for the luxurious flats.
The petitioners took strong exception to the letters from the Qatari prince as they were never referred to by the PM in his parliamentary speech or any of the government men previously in the context that the money trail for the purchase of London flats proved by these letters.
At one point, the apex court remarked that 99.9 per cent evidence presented by the defence about money trail is worth consignment to the dustbin. The highly dismaying reply from NAB about its inability to file appeal in Hudaibiya Paper Mills, elicited remarks from court that “the NAB is like a dead body buried in the ground”.
On different occasions, the court remarked about passing decision without facing pressure but purely under the Constitution and the law.
On Feb 20, the court had remarked: “Corruption has become threat to the state.”
On Feb15, it said: “No one is coming up with the truth. We will fathom the truth. We will go to any extent to meet end of justice.”
On Jan 9, it said: “We will see whether Nawaz Sharif told the truth before the Parliament in his speech.”
On Jan 10, it stated: “Nawaz Sharif cannot be disqualified on the basis of his Parliamentary speech only.”
This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 21-Apr-2017 here.