ISLAMABAD   -  The Supreme Court on Friday questioned whether a case wherein a person has been acquitted can be reopened under Article 184(3).

The top court directed the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) to submit its reply on the question framed as well as the maintainability of the petition.

The pertinent question is framed during the hearing of a petition filed by Syed Feroze Gillani, wherein he sought top court’s indulgence for directives for compensation of all the losses and damages suffered by national exchequer in the backdrop of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) 2007.

The damages and losses, according to the petitioner, also include the loss of USD 60 million in the Swiss Banks representing the illegal funds acquired through alleged corruption and money laundering by Co-chairperson Pakistan People Party Asif Ali Zardari.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan resumed the hearing of the petition.

The bench also decided to keep the assets’ details of Zardari confidential. It is also decided that assets’ details of former military ruler General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf and former AGP Malik Qayyum will also be kept confidential.

Observing that the petition will not be decided on hearsays, the bench directed the petitioner to argue his petition as to whether it is maintainable or not.

The bench, however, also directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit its reply on Swiss cases and NRO after examining it.

The top court also decided that it will decide the maintainability after submission of replies and documents.

The bench also observed that prejudice will be caused to no one and the petition will be decided in accordance with constitution and law.

During the course of hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan questioned as to what is the evidence for substantiating the petitioner’s claim that the USD 60 million placed in Swiss banks belonged to Pakistan.

Justice Ahsan told the petitioner to satisfy the bench on whether the petition is maintainable or not.

Gillani responded the bench requesting to grant him time for preparing arguments on this aspect as he has not received the complete documents so far.

He however contended that the top court’s earlier judgment on NRO has already mentioned that the amount placed in Swiss banks belonged to Pakistanis and Zardari transferred these amounts.

He contended the USD 60 million placed in Swiss banks should be recovered for the people of Pakistani.

Justice Ahsan, however, termed the contentions of Gillani as press statements and observed that if there is any record then it should be produced before the bench since the matter is serious.

Justice Ahsan told the petitioner to inform the bench where the documents are placed.

He, however, made it clear to the petitioner that this court will not decide the matter on hearsays and there should be substantive material before the bench.

The petitioner responded that the information and documents are with NAB in different references.

Advocate Farooq H. Naek, counsel for Zardari, appeared and reiterated its earlier stance apprising the bench that his client has been acquitted in all the cases including the ones pertaining to Swiss banks.

He further contended that his client was acquitted after a lengthy and exhaustive trial while his client also jailed for 8 years despite the amount in question was not in the name of Zardari.

Additional Attorney General Syed Nayyar Rizvi representing the government informed the bench that NRO has become past and closed transaction and another trial is not appropriate in constitutional petition.

However the bench did not agree with the arguments and ordered the AG to submit a detailed reply in this aspect.

The petitioner Gillani requested the bench for provision of affidavits of Zardari, Musharraf and Qayyum for preparing the arguments. However, the bench declined the plea ordering in favour of assets’ details confidentiality.

On bench’s query, Wasim Sajjad representing Malik said that he has submitted details of his client’s assets along with affidavit.  The court adjourned the hearing for 3 weeks.

 

SYED SABEEHUL HUSSNAIN