Islamabad (September 13, 2017): Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khuwaja Harris while advancing arguments on the review petition before the larger bench of the apex court argued that fair trial was not possible due to the nomination of monitoring judge to oversee the NAB reference against Sharif family.
A five-members larger bench of the apex court resumed hearing of review petitions filed by Sharif family against the apex court July 28 judgment.
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Nawaz’s counsel Khwaja Harris started arguments on the petitions. Asif questioned that two judge of the Panamagate case had already given their verdict on April 20, but they also sat in the bench to pronounce the final verdict.The counsel said that Nawaz Sharif was disqualified over Capital FZE. He argued that proper hearing was required for disqualification under Article 62 (f)(I), as show cause notice was issued and the affected party is provide opportunity of hearing.
Upon this, Justice Ejaz Afzal remarked that April 20 judgment was not challenged. Harris replied that the monitory judgment had no legal value so they did not challenge it.
Sharif Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed said that the final Panama verdict was to be decided by the same five-member bench which had given April 20 judgement.
Justice Azmat said that the apex court had formed an implementation bench but the decision was to be ultimately made by the five-member bench. The implementation bench was to work as per directions provided by the five-member bench, he said.Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif through his petition has argued that the decision passed by the court on July 28 should have been passed by a three-member bench as Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed’s jurisdiction had expired after their dissenting judgment on April 20. The same has been argued in petitions filed by Nawaz’s children, Hassan, Hussain and Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar as well as Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Harris said there was no mention of a larger bench in the April 20 judgement and the decision should have been made by the same three-member bench which heard JIT investigation.“My client was not given a fair trial. No show-cause notice was issued to him nor a chance to explain his position,” argued Harris.
Harris contended that the question is whether the court could order the National Accountability Bureau to launch an investigation, adding that there is no legal precedent of appointment of a monitoring judge in such a case.
“Nawaz’s basic rights were usurped by appointing monitoring judge,” Harris said further.
Justice Ejaz said that the accountability court was free to reach to its own decision. The investigation can be reviewed and that the petitioners will be allowed the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses and JIT members, he said.Responding to the objections raised in the petitions about the commendations and appreciations of the JIT as “a gross transgression” of the former prime minister’s right to a fair trial, Justice Ejaz said that he had praised the JIT report but it will be scrutinised in the trial court.
The counsel for Nawaz’s children and son-in-law, Salman Akram Raja, is also present in the courtroom and will present his arguments later.The Supreme Court had decided on Tuesday to the Sharifs’ plea that a five-judge bench is formed to hear the review petitions against the July 28 Panama Papers case verdict instead of an already-formed three-member bench.
The new bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, includes Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.
All five judges were part of the Panama Papers case bench that disqualified Nawaz and ordered the filing of corruption cases against the others.During hearing of the plea by the Sharifs for the formation of a larger bench on Tuesday, Raja had pleaded the three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ejaz and comprising Justice Azmat and Justice Ahsan, to form a five-member bench to hear their review petitions.
He had also pleaded that their review petition against the judgment of the five-member bench be taken up first.
Justice Ejaz had observed that the three-judge bench gave the majority verdict in the Panama Papers case and that the decision would not have been different had the three-judge bench given a verdict in the case.
However, the bench accepted Raja’s plea and sent to the chief justice a request seeking the formation of a five-judge bench, which was notified later in the day.On August 15, the former prime minister filed three petitions in the Supreme Court seeking the court to review the Panama Papers verdict.The petitions pleaded the apex court to dismiss the petitions filed by Sheikh Rasheed, Imran Khan and Siraj-ul-Haq.
The former prime minister, through his petition, argued that the decision passed by the court on July 28 should have been passed by a three-member bench as Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed’s jurisdiction had expired after their dissenting judgment on April 20.“That by signing the Final Order of the Court dated 28.07.2017, the hon’ble two Members of the “Bench” have actually passed two final Judgments in the same case, which is unprecedented in judicial history,” said the appeal.