Islamabad (July 18, 2017): During the hearing of the Panama case by the three-member special bench of the Supreme Court today when the counsel of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members Khawaja Harris argued that documents submitted by the JIT as proof in its report said that as per the law such documents could only be transferred through foreign government Justice Ejaz Afzal asked if documents received from other sources besides the government could be rejected?
Can the documents could be rejected solely on this basis, Justice Ejaz asked adding that JIT was provided the documents under legal assistance.
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Justice Ijazul-ul-Hassan added that though law does not define the word “foreign government” as per NAB Law the institutions and people under the influence and jurisdiction of the government fall under “government”.
Here Justice Azmat Saeed elaborated that “legal assistance is between state institutions and not individuals.” Federal government or an institution nominated by it could get into agreement for legal assistance, he added.
What has to be seen is that whether these documents comply Law of Evidence and if the documents are real they need not be verified by an embassy, Justice Ijazul-ul-Hassan added. Even documents send by a private company as per its own national laws could be rejected, he added.
The documents, Justice Hassan continued, acquired from a private firm by the relevant government itself could be accepted.
Here Justice Azmat Saeed citing an example said that there is a restaurant named “Ministry of Crab” in Sri Lanka. Asking if there is a ministry in Pakistan that could reply to the letter from ministry of crabs he asked whether only a notified body could write a letter to seek documents? Why letter could not be written to an authority overseas directly, Justice Ijazul Hassan asked.
Addressing Khawaja Harris Justice Ejaz Afzal said that as per him the JIT exceeded its mandate. The matter is simple: you should have said that these are the properties and these are the sources of income and the matter had ended there. A single answer had brought to the entire issue to rest, he added.
Addressing Sharif family’s counsel Justice Ijaz-ul-Hassan asked that he has said that you own London fats and would provide proof. The court is hearing to you, elaborate and we could accept it, he added.
Here Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that the burden of proof in on the Sharif family. The prime minister himself said that that the flats are owned by Sharif family and that he would offer an explanation about it, Justice Ijazul Hassan said.