Sharif’s disqualification as PM ‘uncontroversial’: Pak SC

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Islamabad— Pakistan’s Supreme Court Tuesday said the disqualification of prime minister Nawaz Sharif was “uncontroversial” as it issued a detailed verdict rejecting review petitions filed by the Sharif family in the Panama Papers case.

 

Sharif, 67, had to step down after he was disqualified as the prime minister by the apex court on July 28 in the Panama Papers scandal. He had sought review of the verdict.

 

The apex court had issued a short-order on September 15 rejecting the review petitions of the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar against the July 28 verdict.

 

In its detailed 23-page verdict, the apex court observed that no error has been identified in the Panama case, which could be reviewed and the accountability court is free to make a decision on the basis of nature of evidence.

 

“The facts about disqualification of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister were uncontroversial,” the court observed in its verdict, maintaining that it could not be said the decision surprised Sharif.

 

In scathing observation, the court also asserted that Sharif fooled the masses in and outside of parliament as well as the apex court.

 

“He (Nawaz) even tried to fool the court without realising that you can fool all the people for some of the time, some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” according to the verdict.

 

The judgment also observed that Sharif’s daughter Maryam was prima facie beneficial owner of London flats and it cannot be said that her spouse Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar has no connection with that property.

 

The court rejected Sharif’s objection to the appointment of a monitoring judge to oversee the trial of corruption cases in the accountability court or fixation of six month period for conclusion of the trial.

 

It said that appointing a supervising judge is not a new thing; the measure is taken to avoid any negligence during the trial.

 

The court said the directions to finish the trial in six months are not meant for influencing the trial court, but for early completion of the trial.

 

However, the court also observed that the accountability court was not bound by the decision of Panama Papers verdict while deciding the corruption cases against the Sharif family.

 

“The accountability court is free to review evidence in accordance with the law,” the verdict stated.

 

Later, former attorney general Irfan Qadir told local media that the judgment shows that its decision was not binding on the accountability court.

 

“It is major relief for the accused as Supreme Court has said that trial court should decide the case on merit and not on the basis of Panama Paper case verdict,” he said.

 

Three cases were registered by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Sharif, his children and son-in-law in the court on September 8.

 

If convicted, Sharif can be jailed.

 

Commenting on the court’s verdict, Sharif’s daughter and PML-N leader Maryam said the law and justice are embarrassed.

 

“That’s exactly how minority brings a bad name to the majority! Victim is not Nawaz Sharif but justice itself!,” she said.

 

“This decision could only be under immense pressure otherwise such travesty of justice is unimaginable,” she said in a series of tweets.

 

Referring to the inclusion of her name, she alleged she was being avenged as she spoke up against injustice.

 

Maryam said it was vendetta as before her name was not included in the verdict issued earlier.

 

She further said that this was the sixth decision in the same case and added that the decision was given on the same day when those who lost politically to Sharif were asked to file a petition which could not be heard in the court.

 

The political future of Sharif, who leads the country’s most powerful political family and the ruling PML-N party, has been hanging in balance since the July 28 verdict.

 

Sharif’s family alleges that the cases are politically motivated.

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