ISLAMABAD - Much to the chagrin of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters and TV reporters and anchors, who had thronged the Courtroom-II of the Supreme Court hoping to hear and cover a possible short order in the Panama leaks case, the bench reserved the judgment, apparently, for going through all the relevant documents and examine different aspects of the case.

“We have to read all the documents and will deliberate upon every aspect and will decide the case in accordance with the constitution and laws of the country,” said Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, who headed the five-member bench.

PTI counsel Naeem Bukhari, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid and Jamaat-e-Islam counsel instead of arguing new points pleaded the court to make out a judgment on the basis of material, already submitted.

The repetition of arguments irked the judges. “Please don’t repeat, tell something new,” Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed observed.

Rashid submitted 1,000 more documents taking the total the number of total documents to 25,000, already submitted by all the parties.

In the eyes of the judges, 99.9 percent of filed documents were worthless, as they could not be considered valid under the provisions of Qanoon-e-Shahadat.

Bukhari tried to establish a link between the letters of the Qatari prince and the award of $20 billion LNG contract to the firm of a Qatari royal family by the incumbent government.

He took the stance that as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not mention in his speeches about the Qatari investment and the purchase of flats from its sale proceeds, therefore, the PM should be disqualified for being “dishonest”.

Rashid’s arguments were more amusing than being based on legal points, though he submitted a dozen judgments of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the United Kingdom and Canada. During his arguments, people present in the courtroom laughed intermittently. “My arguments would be simple, sweet and smart,” he said. Upon that, the courtroom resounded with laughter.

Justice Azmat asked him to be serious and maintain the decorum. Sheikh termed the PM and his children’s defence a fiction, saying; “They failed to fill the colour in it. If I had prepared it then it would have been much better.” Upon this, Justice Khosa remarked it seems you are expert in it. The people in the courtroom laughed again.

For petitioners — the PTI, the JI and the AML — it was a very simple case and desired that the court decides the case on morality as they held the Sharif family responsible for the corruption in the country. But for the judges, it was not an ordinary case and not appropriate to sideline the jurisprudence developed over the ages and the constitution, whose oath they have taken to defend, protect and preserve.

As the court judgments become laws, therefore, they were very careful to pass a judgment in the Panama case that will remain for years to come. “We want to deliver a judgment in this case which is valid even after 20 years,” Justice Khosa observed.

Though the PTI chairman was represented by Bukhari, at the end of the arguments of all petitioners’ counsel, Imran Khan did not seem satisfied. He requested the bench to allow him to speak for five minutes. The PTI chief sounded like the preacher. He submitted that the menace of terrorism, poverty and unemployment were linked to corruption and if a leader of the country was corrupt, then, the menace could not be eradicated. “The leader should be a role model for its people.”

JI chief Siraj ul Haq also spoke for five minutes. He said, “We are before this court and you (judges) are before the court of Allah Almighty. The decision should be made on the basis of right and wrong.”

The court was jam-packed as people were expecting a short order. On the other hand, security personnel from Special Branch and IB left little space for reporters to take notes while the seats were occupied by the petitioners’ supporters and the government ministers and MNAs.

At the end of the proceeding, Justice Khosa thanked all the counsel, the petitioners and respondents for reposing confidenc in the bench. He hoped that trust will remain in the apex court even after the judgment. The lawyers of all the parties also appreciated the judges for hearing their arguments patiently.

High profile case, careful approach