ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday expressed concern over scathing criticism on the judiciary by the PML-N and its leadership in the wake of the Panamagate case judgment.

Without taking any name, he said tolerance and patience of the judges should be admired because whatever has been said [by disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif] outside the court was not appreciable.

He further observed that the criticism would not affect their stature nor will it compel the judges to be dishonest with their work.

The comments came during hearing of PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi’s petition seeking disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen.

Hearing the case, the court rejected a plea of Abbasi’s counsel Akram Sheikh to summon Imran Khan’s nomination papers for 1997 general elections from the election commission, saying that in a disqualification case the onus in on the petitioner to provide undisputed documents.

The three-member bench also ordered Jahangir Tareen’s counsel to submit a written reply to the points raised by the Attorney General in connection with the laws of the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday (Nov 14) after PTI chief Imran Khan’s counsel Naeem Bukhari sought a week’s to prepare his arguments.

Speaking outside the NAB court after his indictment in corruption cases, Nawaz Sharif the other day heaped scorn on the judiciary and said that the detailed judgement of Supreme Court in response to his pleas against the Panama leaks case verdict reflected the “anger and grudge of the judges”.

Accusing the judges of being biased against him, he said they were “filled with hatred”. “The hatred, anger and words of judges will constitute dark history,” Nawaz added.

During the hearing of Hanif Abbasi case, Imran’s counsel Naeem Bukhari asked the chief justice to pass an order barring comments on pending cases.

Upon that, the chief justice asked if the comments made outside the court [by Nawaz] could be appreciated.

“Our tolerance and patience should be admired,” he said, adding that dispensation of justice would neither be curtailed nor affected on anyone’s desire.

“What could be a higher position than the one we are holding now? Why would we be unfair in our work for the sake of anyone?” the chief justice asked.

Lauding the bench patience, Bukhari said the dispensation of justice has improved over time.

Sheikh’s plea rejected

Justice Umar Atta Bandial told Abbasi’s counsel Akram Sheikh that in the proceedings under Article 184(3) of Constitution the burden of producing irrefutable documents is on the petitioner, while the respondent is [also] required to put up a comprehensible case.

He said that in the Panama leaks case, the five-member bench had told Nawaz Sharif to provide authentic documents. “We gave him a fair chance to vindicate his position,” he said, quoting the judgement in the review case.

Sheikh had represented Nawaz in the Panama Papers case.

During the case hearing, Sheikh requested the court to summon Imran Khan’s nomination papers for 1997 general elections from the Election Commission of Pakistan.

“We are not inclined to summon the nomination form,” the chief justice told him.

But Sheikh argued that Imran had contested 1997 election too but he did not file the nomination papers before this court.

The chief justice then inquired from the counsel of PTI chief, who responded that if the form was available with the ECP then he has no objection to summon it. But he pointed out that Imran had lost that election.

Addressing Akram Sheikh, CJP said, “You have not filed any application for summoning Imran Khan’s nomination papers from the ECP.”

Sheikh said that these were inquisitorial proceedings and when Imran in his reply submitted that offshore company Niazi Service Limited was incorporated then the onus was on him to supply the documents.

The chief justice observed they could not hear the case for a long period. The court also observed that it is the responsibility of the petitioner to submit undisputed documents for disqualification of any candidate, and rejected Sheikh’s plea.

Justice Umar Ata Bandial noted that the main question is that how Imran’s offshore company Euro Account surfaced.



AG’s points

In an earlier hearing, the court had questioned whether or not Tareen acted fairly as the director of JDW Sugar Mills when the SECP had ordered him to pay a fine of Rs70 million in 2005 when his employees engaged in insider trading.

Tareen’s counsel had said that his client wished to close the matter with the SECP as he had already paid a fine to the regulatory body.

In another hearing, Abbasi’s lawyer Azid Nafees argued that the PTI leader should be disqualified as he had engaged in insider trading and acquired income through such activity.

He added that Tareen had confessed his involvement in insider trading and also paid a penalty for it to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan on January 12, 2008. “This is enough to declare [Tareen] dishonest,” the lawyer had said.

During Thursday’s hearing, Attorney General Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf also said that Tareen had confessed to earning this money in an illegal manner. He further said that initially, Tareen did not raise any objection to the SECP’s action against him, returned the amount and paid fine. He further said Tareen is also not asking for return of money and to reverse the whole process.

According to AGP, the SECP had already taken its final decision and that cannot be challenged at another forum.

Tareen’s counsel Sikandar Bashir said section 15(a)(b) of Securities and Exchange Ordinance [under which the deal was made] was ultra-vires to Article 73 of Constitution.

The AGP questioned whether this position– that section 15(a&b) be declared ultra vires – would not change the fact of Tareen’s case or reverse the action taken.

Justice Faisal Arab commented that the action has already been challenged before the apex court.

To this, Ausaf said that the transaction [between Tareen and the SECP] could not be reversed even if a section of the SECP’s laws was unconstitutional. It is now a past and close transaction, which could not be reopened, he held.

The chief justice said Tareen was not punished by the SECP and asked the AGP to satisfy on the money bill. The AGP said the matter deemed in the money bill related to the finance.

Justice Faisal Arab said the Securities and Exchange Ordinance was not a finance generating law, adding it was about the funds’ regulation.

The chief justice said the purpose of the law is to protect the investor and matter related to capital market and corporate entity, adding it had nothing to do with the finance.

However, Justice Bandial observed that Securities and Exchange Ordinance deals with the stock exchange and stock markets, which are the instrument of economic growth therefore this is the subject of finance.