Two major SC verdicts to face review challenge

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE – The Supreme Court on Friday delivered judgments in two high-profile cases, evoking strong political responses and criticism, and now the parties involved say they will seek review of the decisions.

In the first verdict the apex court rejected NAB’s request for reopening Hudabiya Papers Mills case that implicates members of the ruling Sharif family.

The second judgment provided a clean chit to Sharif’s avowed political enemy Imran Khan in a disqualification case filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi.

The legal wing of the National Accountability Bureau has recommended filing a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, The Nation learnt on Monday.

The top court last week dismissed the anti-corruption watchdog’s appeal to reopen the Rs1.2 billion money-laundering case against ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his brother and Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, and some their other family members – including their children Maryam and Hamza who are considered their heirs-apparent.

On the other hand, PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi has announced that he will move a review petition against SC decision of giving PTI Chairman Imran Khan clean chit in a disqualification case, filed by PML-N leader Hanief Abbasi.

“The reasons to be recorded later the NAB [National Accountability Bureau] application for condonation is dismissed,” the court had said in its short order, rejecting the NAB appeal against a 2014 decision of the Lahore High Court that quashed Hudaibiya case for lack of evidence.

But a NAB official said on Monday the bureau was considering filing a review petition following the appointment of the new Prosecutor General Accountability (PGA).

He said that in the review petition, the bureau will take the stance that it had collected fresh evidence from the report of the Joint Investigation Team that probed the Panama Papers case, but it could not contest its case due to a delay in the appointment of a new PGA.

The Supreme Court during the hearing of the Panama Papers case had asked former NAB chairman Qamar Zama Chaudhry to file an appeal in the case but he held the ground arguing that he had taken a right decision by not filing an appeal against the Sharifs.

However, in the Panama case judgment the top court directed NAB to file an appeal. Following the order, the bureau appealed the Supreme Court to dismiss the high court’s verdict and allow it to reopen the case for further investigation on the basis of the evidence emerged as the result of the Panama case JIT report.

A three-member bench however dismissed the NAB request on Friday, which invited strong criticism from opposition parties who considered it an undue favour to the ruling family.

The former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Abbas Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shehbaz and former finance minister Ishaq Dar had been accused of receiving ill-gotten money in the case.

NAB spokesperson Asim Ali Nawazish was contacted on the phone and through text messages to get his version on the report of review plea, but he did not respond.

Hanif Abbasi

PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi on Monday announced that he would move a review petition against the Supreme Court decision in the case he had filed to seek disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, after release of the detailed judgment by the Supreme Court.

Talking to media here Abbasi strongly criticised Imran and said if PTI chief stood to the merit of Articles 62 and 63, then every bad person met that criteria. He vowed to sue him (Imran Khan) for calling him a ‘drug dealer’.

Abbasi also passed harsh remarks against PTI City President Aleem Khan terming him a ‘qabza mafia’ and ‘second ATM’ machine of Imran Khan. He said Imran Khan travelled in the plane of Jahangir Tareen and Aleem had been paying for the fuel.

He accused the PTI of running on stake money and warned Imran Khan against speaking ill of the PML-N leaders, or he would move the Supreme Court against him. Claiming that he was holding incriminatory evidence against Imran, Hanif vowed to expose him.

The PML-N leader also criticised the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for spending Rs72 billion on Metro Bus which he claimed was run in Lahore in just Rs10 billion.

Aleem’s reaction

Aleem was quick to respond to Abbasi’s allegations by calling the PML-N leader ‘head of a mafia’. He bashed him for trying to issue ‘character certificates’ to others, saying Abbasi had lost all his senses following the clean chit to Imran Khan.

“Abbasi should first get his name cleared in narcotics case and then criticise the PTI leadership”, Aleem said in a statement, adding that it was strange to see the PML-N calling a notorious person from Rawalpindi to level baseless charges against him.

He alleged that it was a common knowledge that from Jangla Bus to Orange Line every project in Punjab was full of corruption and Punjab government would have to be answerable before the courts one day.

Aleem said he stood by his words he uttered the other day and everybody in the ruling party including Shehbaz Sharif will have to be accountable for their corruption.

PTI leader further stated that reports were already circulating in the media that all the companies in Punjab were looting the national exchequer in the name of good governance and shifting funds out of country through kick backs.

He questioned that if he had done something wrong why the PML-N government did not take any action against him in the last nine years.

He affirmed that such cheap tactics of Nawaz league could not deter PTI’s resolve to curb corruption from the society, adding that the people of Pakistan under the leadership of Imran Khan would bring countrywide change by voting the PTI into power in 2018 elections.

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