ISLAMABAD - Salman Akram Raja held his ground on Tuesday despite piercing questions by the five-member bench hearing Panama leaks case.

Judges tough questions were well defended and replied by the lawyer of the prime minister’s sons.

Qatari letters, which is the only link to show source of funds for four London flats did not seem acceptable to the court. The bench raised questions as to why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his address to the nation and the speech made in the Lower House of the Parliament ignored the Qatari connection? Why it was not even mentioned by Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz in their interviews? If the Qatari prince is a close business partner of the Sharif family then why he has not provided relevant documents for the purchase of London properties?

Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Jehangir Tareen, Sheikh Rasheed and Sirajul Haq, not only heard the case attentively but were amused with the tough questions put to the respondents’ counsel.

Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh, a member of the five-judge bench hearing the case, was shifted to the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, Tuesday evening due to heart problem. The doctors had advised him to undergo stent surgery after 24 hours of rest.

In his absence, the larger bench would not be able to hear the case at least for this week.

Raja flouted a possibility, if court is not satisfied, then statements of rel   evant persons, who have given affidavit, be recorded and cross-examined.

His suggestion followed that the apex court could not travel beyond its jurisdiction available under Article 184(3) of the constitution as the investigation required to determine the fact.

Since the counsels of the prime minister and his children have been trying to shift the responsibility on each other to provide record of setting up of Dubai and Jeddah factories and the investment made in Qatar, the court was left with no option but to say if there was not enough material on record and state institutions were reluctant to perform their obligations, then the SC could exercise its jurisdiction.

The court presumed the bearer certificates of four flats were kept in Qatar, and the London flats were purchased with the investment made in real estate in Qatar.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan further presumed that the London flats were purchased in 1993.

Raja’s reply was that the court could not pass judgment on the basis of possibilities.

The court wondered as to when the loans were taken from banks and bank guarantees were given, then why transactions were not done through banks too.

Raja said that the deals were made through cash. He informed the court that in 1978, the Qatari government had issued notes of 1,000 Dirham denomination, therefore it was not difficult to carry the amount of 12 million Dirhams.

The court presumed that 12 million Dirhams, sale proceed of the Dubai factory, might have devolved among the Sharif family members after the death of Mian Muhammad Sharif and share of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif might have been used to purchase the London flats.

Dismissing the court conjecture, Raja said that the property was transferred to Hussain Nawaz during the lifetime of Mian Muhammad Sharif.

The court lauded the selection of words from English vocabulary of the respondents’ counsels, as Raja termed absence of any mention of Qatari investment in the PM’s speeches “imperfection”, while Makhdoom Ali Khan, the PM’s counsel termed the speeches a “broad overview”.

Raja tried to satisfy the court that though London flats remained in the use of the Sharif family prior to 2006 but actual ownership took place when the bearer certificates were handed to Hussain Nawaz in 2006.

He defended that attachment of London properties in Hudaibiya Papers Mills in view of the Court of Queens’s Bench, UK were released by the Sharif family, and in that he regard read affidavit of Shazi Naqvi, former director of Al-Taufiq Company.

NAB Prosecutor General Waqas Qadeer Dar filed the minutes of the bureau committee, which had decided not to file appeal against the Lahore High Court judgment in Hudaibiya Papers Mills.

The decision to direct the NAB to file appeal or not will be made later.