ISLAMABAD, August 14 (TNS): The Supreme Court observed on Thursday that documents submitted in court during the Panama Papers case proved that then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif received a salary from a UAE-based company in August 2013.
The observation came as the apex court’s five-member bench, headed by headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, resumed hearing of review petitions filed by the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar against the apex court’s judgment in the Panama Papers case on July 28.
The five-judge bench that decided upon the Panama case, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, continued hearing the review petitions filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his children and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar against the July 28 judgement. The bench also comprises justices Gulzar Ahmed, Ejaz Afzal, Azmat Saeed and Ijazul Ahsan.
Justice Ejaz Afzal said that the employment agreement stated that a salary of 10,000 dirhams had been set for Sharif.
“The JIT documents tell us that Sharif had an account to receive the salary,” said Justice Ahsan, adding that according to the findings, [Sharif’s] first salary was drawn on August 01, 2013.
Senior counsel Khawaja Haris, representing Nawaz Sharif, said that although his client was not backtracking from the employment agreement, he did not have a bank account for the purpose.
“The question is, how can the court accept verbally that Nawaz Sharif did not receive the salary?” questioned Justice Afzal, adding that a statement could not be accepted without scrutiny under the law of evidence.
Not every salary constitutes is an asset, Haris argued, adding that a salary is either in cash or deposited into bank.
“If a person eats a burger from an amount of money, the asset would belong to the burger-seller,” Justice Saeed observed.
The counsel said he had been unable to find any precedents in which the court had applied Article 62(1)(f) to disqualify a public representative for not disclosing assets. The consitution does not specify the life-time limit of disqualification under Article 62, he claimed.
“Sharif did not merit disqualification only on the basis that although he had not withdrawn salary [from Capital FZE], it still consituted an asset [due to being a receivable],” he said.
The counsel contended that references could not be filed against the Sharif family on the basis of the JIT report, which he said was “incomplete”.
“We did not issue the verdict in light of the JIT report,” Justice Afzal responded, adding that court does not accept the report as credible evidence. He said the petitioners have the full right of defence in the accountability court.
The SC verdict of July 28 would not become a hindrance if some new revelation came on record during the trial, observed Justice Afzal.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa meanwhile observed that the apex court had in the past provided relief to Nawaz Sharif over violation of fundamental rights.
“Do not give the impression that the Supreme Court has become a complainant [against Sharif],” he said.
“Whenever cases were instituted against Sharif in violation of legal provisions, it was this Supreme Court that saved him.”