SC resents media trial outside court


ISLAMABAD July 20 (TNS): Supreme Court’s special implementation bench began fourth consecutive hearing of the Panama Papers case on Thursday.

The 3-member bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan has heard the arguments of the petitioners over the JIT report and is now hearing replies of the respondents. New documents in favor of the Sharif family were leaked to the media on Wednesday evening.

When legal counsel for the prime minister’s children, Salman Akram Raja, began his arguments before the bench, Justice Azmat observed that all of Raja’s documents were debated in the media while Justice Ejaz remarked that maybe the counsel can give the arguments before the media as well. “You had better present your arguments before media at the dais installed outside the SC as your said documents were under discussion on different channels. Salman Akram Raja responded that he didn’t give any material to the media.

During his arguments, Raja said his client, Hussain, was not asked questions regarding the UAE Justice Ministry’s letter during his JIT sessions. Raja presented to the court documents detailing cargo shipments from UAE to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Justice Ijaz commented that additional documents are submitted whenever questions are raised.

“You should have given the complete documents to the JIT,” Justice Ejaz observed, commenting that now the counsel has brought to the fore new documents whose effect on the case will have to be seen. Raja replied that the JIT declared all the documents he presented to them as bogus.

Raja also submitted a 17-page objection to the JIT report to the court, pleading for dismissal of the report and its ‘evidence’. The application objects to the source material used by the JIT in its final report, saying it is unverified.

Justice Amzat counselled Raja to not dismiss the JIT’s findings but instead prove them wrong with supporting documents. Addressing the counsel, Justice Azmat said you have to answer law firm Mossack Fonseca’s claim that Maryam is the owner of the London properties.

Justice Ijaz inquired from Raja regarding the Azizia Mills’ money trail “We been asking for a year and a half now as to how the money got to Jeddah but there has been no response so far,” observed Justice Ijaz. The counsel replied that they have provided answers but that the court does not accept them is a separate matter.

Addressing Raja, Justice Ejaz observed that you have been arguing for an hour but have not said anything new. The counsel responded by saying he is not repeating his arguments. There’s no accusation of any wrongdoing against the prime minister’s children, said Raja, to which Justice Ejaz remarked: “If there’s no accusation then why are you wasting your energy”.

The bench observed that their questions regarding the money trail still stand where they were. Justice Ejaz remarked that if the children are unable to reveal the money trail of the London properties then the ‘public officer holder’ will be asked about it.

The hearing was then put on hold as the bench went into a short recess.

As the proceedings resumed, the bench was provided with the documents related to Qatari Prince Sheikh Hammad bin Jassim and the British Virgin Islands. The documents include the two letters sent to the JIT by the Qatari prince. The bench observed that as the JIT has been wrapped up, the documents be submitted with the court’s registrar. It also directed that the new material be made available to all parties in the case.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s counsel, Dr Tariq Hassan, is also expected to continue his arguments from Wednesday.