Panama Leaks Case: Attorney General argues before the Supreme Court

A five-member bench of the apex court of Supreme Court comprising of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, Justice Azmat Saeed, Justice Ijaz Afzal, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan, resumed the hearing of Panama Leaks Case against Sharif family. Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali presented his arguments before the bench and said that he had taken a look at records and concluded that Sharif Family had borrowed loan on foreign currency accounts.

Justice Azmat Saeed gave the remarks that the court had been told earlier that investments were made with the Qatari Prince whereas no foreign currency account had been mentioned. He also advised the Attorney General to not become party in the case but assist the court.

The Attorney General argued that the case of Hudaibiya Paper Mills should be kept aside from the Panama Papers case. Justice Azmat Saeed remarked that if the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case was not based on facts, why he was trying to avoid it? He further said the NAB had proven to be a dead organization yesterday.

The Panama Leaks Case’s hearing has been adjourned till tomorrow Thursday, when Counsel of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Naeem Bokhari will come up with his arguments. In the previous hearing, Chairmen of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) appeared before the court.

When the bench asked Chairman FBR about the Panama Papers Revelations, he told the court that 343 people including members of Sharif family have been issued notices. He further stated that Maryam Nawaz in her response to the FBR, has denied the ownership of any offshore company or some overseas property. She didn’t say anything about being a trustee in any of the company, Chairman FBR chief added.

The five-member bench expressed its disappointment when Chairman NAB informed the court that the accountability watchdog only acts when a regulator approaches for it. To this, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed that as per NAB’s position, Panama Papers do not come within its jurisdiction whereas laws concerning the NAB give it the authority to undertake investigations, Justice Khosa told the Chairman NAB.

The matter of PM Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification also became the part of the hearing when Justice Saeed expressed that it is the right of every citizen to know whether their Prime Minister is qualified or not. To this, Attorney General argued that the issue is about Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification as a member of the National Assembly, not as the Prime Minister. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who heads the bench, said the court had already declared that petitions seeking disqualification of the prime minister constituted a case of public importance.

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