ISLAMABAD: Dissatisfied with the second lead counsel, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is now in search of a new lawyer to substantiate their submissions in the Panamagate case.
Sources have revealed to The Express Tribune that the PTI leadership is dissatisfied with Naeem Bukhari’s performance in the Panama Leaks case before the larger bench.
PTI chief Imran Khan is visibly upset over his counsel’s incompetency to respond to questions raised by judges and is also unable to cite any judgment in this matter.
Sources claim that the party has also contacted Atizaz Ahsan to argue the case on PTI’s behalf but the senior lawyer has turned down the request.
“We may ask any new lawyer to argue the case at the time of rebuttal. We are in search of a competent lawyer but we will engage any new counsel with Bukhari’s consent,” they add.
There is a chance that Bukhari will conclude his arguments today (Wednesday). The legal experts believe that though PTI has a strong case it is poorly argued by its legal team.
Realising implications of the case, the Sharifs have already replaced their counsels and engaged three of Pakistan’s top lawyers to rebut PTI’s allegations and satisfy the judges on the money trail of their contentious London flats. Senior lawyers Makhdoom Ali Khan, Shahid Hamid and Salman Akram Raja will defend the Sharifs.
PTI’s legal team, on the other hand, has shrunk as the case progressed.
Senior lawyers Hamid Khan and Ahmad Awais have already disassociated themselves from the case following criticism on their performance within the party. Likewise, Babar Awan has also not been seen in the courtroom since the new larger bench started hearing the case and is also not seen attending meetings of the party’s legal team.
Lawyers, who have heard Bukhari’s arguments of the five days’ proceedings, believe that the PTI lead counsel is unable to cite judgments on the issues of ‘dependency’ and ‘benami’.
A segment of the party is also concerned about Bukhari’s performance and some members have advised the PTI leadership to instruct the lawyer to give only brief submissions, putting the ball in the Sharif legal team’s court to prove the ruling family’s innocence.
The legal experts have also urged the apex court that if there is a need of legal assistance then an amicus curiae could be appointed.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2017.