SC adjourns hearing of review petitions in Panama Papers case till Wednesday

SC adjourns hearing of review petitions in Panama Papers case till Wednesday”

Pakistan's ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif's children requested the country's Supreme Court on Monday to delay the hearing of the review petitions in the Panamagate case related to the family's offshore assets and wealth.

Sharif had filed a set of review petitions challenging the verdict handed down in the petitions filed by Imran Khan, Sheikh Rashid and Sirajul Haq, requesting the court to review its judgment.

Three member bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal has adjourned till Wednesday hearing of the review petitions filed against apex court's verdict in Panama Papers case.

The petitions have been filed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

"In terms of legal and constitutional dispensation of the State of Pakistan, a Supreme Court bench of lesser strength can not upset or pre-empt the decision of a larger bench", they contended.

The petition stated that the legal proposition as to whether the five-member bench had the jurisdiction to pass the final order of the court dated July 28 in light of grounds taken in the review petition No. 308/2017, falls for determination and can only be adjudicated by the five-member bench, which actually passed the said order and not by a three-member bench.

Justice Ejaz 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.

The applicants through their counsel filed appeals, pleading the apex court to review its judgment and stay further implementation of it until their appeals are decided.

Sharif's children and his son-in-law had filed the review petitions last month.

Dar also said that the appointment of a judge to monitor NAB's proceedings will affect the trial proceedings.

It was contended that when a five-member larger bench had announced and signed the July 28 verdict, the review petitions should also be fixed before the same bench.

Following the decision, the apex court formed a six-member inquiry team that included Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia, Military Intelligence's Brig Kamran Khurshid, National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, State Bank of Pakistan's Amer Aziz, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan's (SECP) Executive Director Bilal Rasool and Inter-Services Intelligence's Brig Muhammad Nauman Saeed.

There is no accusation or evidence against Safdar, Nawaz's son-in-law, regarding the purchase of the Sharifs' London properties but still NAB was ordered to file a reference against him, the petition claimed.

Under Article 188 of the Constitution, Sharif can not be disqualified without a trial, petitions further said.

The application further stated that the same five-member bench or any other bench of the same size should be constituted to hear the review applications against the five-member bench verdict.

They contended that the Supreme Court could not direct NAB to file references against them and argued that the top court had become party to NAB proceedings and thus, depriving them of their right to fair trial guaranteed under the Constitution.

The accountability court registrar office returned the said two references and directed NAB to resubmit it after correcting mistakes by September 14.

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