ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) observed on Wednesday that allegations of corruption against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family in Panamagate case were not ‘frivolous’.
“The qualification [competence] of the prime minister is the basic fundamental right of all citizens of the country,” Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh remarked as the apex court’s five-judge larger bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, resumed the hearing of the ongoing Panamagate case. “The allegations are not frivolous as they could be right or wrong.”
NAB’s probe exposed Sharifs' corruption in Hudabiya scam, docs reveal
Meanwhile, Attorney-General for Pakistan Ashtar Ausaf Ali submitted before the court that disputed material was provided by the petitioner [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf], therefore, the “court cannot give a verdict in the case.” On this, Justice Azmat asked the AGP to recommend a way forward to adjudicate on the disputed facts in the matter.
In his remarks, Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that “some facts have been admitted by the ruling family and promise was made [by PM Nawaz] to the people of Pakistan that the complete record will be provided at a relevant forum but it was not given.”
The AGP contended that the state institutions should not be disgraced as he felt embarrassed during his appearances at the international arbitration because “they refer the statements of the country’s dignitaries against the national departments.”
“When the state institutions themselves tend to be disgraceful then what should we do,” asked Justice Khosa. He also asked the AGP to think about why such remarks were being issued against the state institutions.
Top court grills NAB, FBR for not probing Sharif family
Referring to the statement made on Tuesday by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman before the apex court, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan said the chairman did not file an appeal against the Lahore High Court’s verdict in Hudabiya Paper Mills case as “he was looking towards the person [PM Nawaz] who appointed him”.
In his arguments, the AGP contended that the top court cannot directly disqualify a member of the National Assembly. “The writ of quo warranto could not be filed for the disqualification of an MNA as he is not holder of a public office,” he upheld.
Concluding his arguments, the AGP said if PTI leader Imran Khan wanted to file an appeal against the three-year-old LHC judgment for quashing Rs1.2 billion reference against the Sharif family, he would not object to the latter’s locus standi.
Expressing disappointment over NAB chairman’s conduct, Justice Azmat remarked that the accountability body’s head was the “insurance policy of the prime minister”.
Justice Khosa questioned whether the prime minister had given any statement that his son Hussain Nawaz owned the London flats. “The PM in his three speeches used the words ‘our flats, our businesses’ but he did not say that the properties are owned by his son.”
PTI counsel Naeem Bukhari requested the top court to accept the stance of PM Nawaz regarding the family’s London properties as “his sons’ statements are hearsay”.