The top court though heard many cases in 2017 but the Panama Leaks dominated the whole year and from time to time created ripples in the Pakistani politics. Panama leaks haunted Pakistan Muslim League as it lost former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for not declaring non-receivable salary in his nomination form, but Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Secretary General Jenhangir Tareen was disqualified for not mentioning the offshore company in his nomination paper of bye-election 2015.

In 2017 the apex court delivered judgments on Imran Khan and others petitions on Panama Leaks, Hanif Abbasi petitions against Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen, Orange Line Metro Train Project, Hudaibya Paper Mills, and illegal appointments in NAB. Besides that the august court passed orders in many suo motos, which the chief justice had taken. Justice Amir Hanif retired in March on reaching the age of superannuation.

Panama Leaks

Since January till July a five-member bench heard petitions of by PTI chief Imran Khan, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, JI Ameer Sirajul Haq and Tariq Asad advocate against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children, another three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar heard the petitions of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader against the PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Secretary General Jehangir Tareen.

On April 20 the five-judge bench passed split judgment. Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed found explanations of ex-Prime Minister’s children regarding London Flats conflicting and unbelievable, therefore, rejected. They declared that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is not honest to the nation, the National Assembly and the apex court in explaining possession and acquisition of London properties and thus disqualified him on the basis of his statements made on the floor of the National Assembly and the address to the nation, and his sons Hussain Nawaz and Hassan and daughter Maryam Safdar’s interviews to the private TV channels.

The other three members of the bench – Justice Ejaz Afzal, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan – passed direction for constitution of Joint Investigation Team to probe allegations of corruption and corrupt practices against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his two sons – Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz.

The chief justice constituted implementation bench of April 20 judgment which comprised of three judges, who had rendered majority judgment in Panama Leaks. The bench sought names from FIA, Military Intelligence, ISI, NAB, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the SECP for the JIT to probe the charges against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his two sons for establishing properties abroad. However, the bench rejected the nominees of SECP and SBP, but accepted the names forwarded by the heads of FIA, MI, ISI and NAB. The entire lists of Grade 18 and above officers of SBP and SECP choose the names Amer Aziz and Bilal Rasool respectively for the JIT. Hussain Nawaz had raised objections against Bilal Rasool and Amer Riaz that they had contact with Pervez Musharraf and the PTI but the bench overruled them.

The JIT investigated the matter for 60 days and filed 10 Volumes investigative report on July 10. It found significant gap/disparity in the known and declared sources of income and wealth accumulated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Safdar, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz. The report confirmed chairmanship of Nawaz Sharif in off-shore company namely, FZE Capital, UAE by Jabel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA and declared that the Qatari prince’s two letters were myth and not reality. It also declared that Ishaq Dar assets did not match with the known resources.

The bench on July 28 on the basis of report ruled that Nawaz Sharif failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables from Capital FZE, Jebel Ali, UAE in his nomination papers under Section 12(2)(f) of Representation of the People Act (ROPA), 1976, and had furnished a false declaration under solemn affirmation therefore he was not honest in terms of Section 99(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution and should be disqualified as a member of National Assembly.

The apex court also directed NAB to filed three references in the Accountability Court against Nawaz Sharif and his sons Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz and daughter Maryam Safdar and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar. The first reference against Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Safdar, Hussain Nawaz Sharif, Hassan Nawaz Sharif and Capt (retd) Safdar was related to Avenfield Apartments 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A. The second reference against Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Hassan Nawaz Sharif was regarding Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Establishment. The third reference was against Nawaz Sharif, Hussain Nawaz Sharif and Hassan Nawaz Sharif regarding Flagship Investments Limited, Hartstone Properties Limited, Que Holdings Limited, Quint Eaton Place 2 Limited, Quint Saloane Limited (formerly Quint Eaton Place Limited), Quaint Limited, Flagship Securities Limited, Quint Gloucester Place Limited, Quint Paddington Limited (formerly Rivates Estates Limited), Flagship Developments Limited, Alanna Services Limited (BVI), Lankin SA (BVI), Chadron Inc, Ansbacher Inc, Coomber Inc and Capital FZE (Dubai).

The NAB was also asked to file reference against Ishaq Dar for possessing assets and funds beyond his known sources of income i.e. 91 times increase from Rs9.11 million to Rs831.70 million in his assets within five years. Ijazul Ahsan was appointed monitoring judge to oversee the proceedings of Accountability Court.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar had challenged the Panama judgment, but the five-judge bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa dismissed the review petitions on September 15.

Hanif Abbasi petition

PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi filed the petitions against Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen last year in November. However, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar started the hearing cases from May 3 after the Panama Leaks judgment. The judgment was reserved on November 14, but announced on December 15.

Hanif Abbasi had demanded disqualification of both the top leaders of PTI for non-disclosures of offshore companies and assets in their nomination papers. The cases against Imran Khan were PTI foreign funding, offshore company Niazi Service Limited (NSL), UK Flat, Bani Gala and payment for apartment on the Constitution Avenue, and against Jehangir Tareen are; Shiny View Limited, house in London, inland trading, mis-declaration of agriculture income in the nomination papers in 2013 and the writing off of a loan.

The apex court in 224-page judgment cleared Imran Khan but disqualified its secretary general Jehangir Tareen for not declaring the offshore company in his nomination papers.

Hudaibya Paper Mills case

NAB on September 20 filed an appeal to set aside Lahore High Court judgment dated 11-03-2014 in Hudaibya Papers Mills case. It had management of Hudaibya Papers Mills Ltd, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Mian Muhammad Abbas Sharif, Mian Hussain Nawaz, Mian Humza Shahbaz, Shahmim Akhtar, Sabiha Abbas and Maryam Nawaz as respondents and federation through Secretary Ministry of Law and Justice and Judge of Accountability Court No IV, Rawalpindi, as proforma respondents. The appeal was dismissed on December 15 as the NAB special prosecutor failed to satisfy the court about delay.

Orange Line Metro Train Project

The top court heard the Orange Line Metro Train project since October 2016 against LHC verdict, wherein the high court had set aside No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for the project in order to stop the provincial government for carrying out construction within the 200-foot radius of 11 heritage sites. The heritage sites include Supreme Court’s Lahore registry, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and Baba Mauj Darya Bukhari’s shrine, Shalimar Garden, Gulabi Bagh Gateway, Buddhu ka Awa, Chauburji, Zebunnisa’s Tomb, Lakshmi Building, General Post Office, Aiwan-i-Auqaf. The Supreme Court on December 8 with majority of 4 against 1 allowed the Punjab government to proceed with the Metro Train project with 31 conditions and directions.

It directed constituting of special teams consisting of qualified experts to periodically inspect all antiquities and special premises to detect any damage or deterioration at the sites and also to maintain proper records and logbooks for the purpose.

NAB officers removal

Three retired army officers – Major (retd) Syed Burhan, DG, Lahore, Major (retd) Tariq Mehmood, DG NAB, Balochistan, and Major (retd) Shahbir Ahmed, Director NAB, Sindh, and civilian officer Aliya Rashid DG Awareness and Prevention did not have required education qualification at the time of their induction in the NAB therefore they should be removed.

Suo moto notices

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took suo moto notices of torture on minor maid servant working in the house of Additional District & Sessions Judge, Islamabad, Raja Khurram Ali Khan. The girl was maltreated but subsequently patch up and compromise took place. He also took suo moto on women smuggling, sale of sub-standard cooking oil at the Utility Stores, jirga in Ghotki wherein 3-year-old girl was given in marriage as the father couldn’t pay back Rs300,000 loan, implantation of sub-standard cardiac stents in Punjab hospitals, illegal sale of kidney, charging unnecessary exorbitant fee for issuance and cancellation of Pakistan Origin Card from overseas Pakistan by NADRA and lynching of Mashaal Khan, a student of Mass Communication was killed at Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, by an enraged mob over blasphemy allegations.

Military Court

The SC upheld the verdict of the military court but did not fix the petitions against granting extension to the military courts filed by the Supreme Bar Association and Lahore High Court Bar Association in March.