Panamagate verdict will last for centuries: judge

Published: April 11, 2017
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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with his daughter Maryam Nawaz. PHOTO: ONLINE

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with his daughter Maryam Nawaz. PHOTO: ONLINE

ISLAMABAD: A Supreme Court judge has observed that the Panamagate verdict – which is being awaited with bated breath – will not just concern the Sharif family, but it will, in fact, set in motion a law which will be practiced for centuries.

Legal experts expect the larger bench will interpret Articles 62, 63 and 66 of the Constitution to set parameters for qualification and disqualification of parliamentarians in the future. Article 66 specifically talks about the privileges given to MPs.

“Our pronouncement will be a law which will be endured for centuries,” said Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who is a member of the five-judge larger bench of the apex court which is expected to rule on the Panamagate case sometime this month.

The judge gave these remarks during the hearing of an appeal filed by the Punjab government against the Lahore High Court’s order suspending the construction of the Orange Line Metro Train project on Tuesday.

The counsel for civil society representatives, Khawaja Ahmad Hosain, who had challenged the Orange Line’s construction in the LHC, requested the bench to hand down a judgment which could not be objected to even after 20 years.

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He was referring to Justice Asif Saeed Khosa’s observation on February 23, 2017 in the Panamagate case that they would give a judgment which would be acceptable to all even after 20 years.

However, no official cause-list regarding the pronouncement of the verdict has so far been issued by the Registrar Office.

All five top court judges who have adjudicated the Panamagate case are expected to sit at the Islamabad registry next week.

The past few weeks have made everyone, particularly politicians, very anxious as they are on tenterhooks awaiting the judgment. Politicians’ future course of action depends on the outcome of the judgment.

The top court reserved the verdict on February 23 with the lead judge, Asif Saeed Khosa, observing that a short order was not possible due to the sensitivity of the case.

It is learnt that the judges on the bench are giving their individual input in writing, keeping in view the importance of the case. “Normally, one judge writes [a] judgment and his fellow judges endorse it. Here, every member of the larger bench is writing his own note,” sources told The Express Tribune. To keep things airtight, a member of the bench is reportedly writing the judgment on his personal laptop.

Meanwhile, hearing the Orange Line Train Project case, Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh observed that the court did not want any damage done to the heritage sites in the city. “We know if we pass a wrong judgment and the sites are damaged, then this will be a burden on us and we will have to carry it forever,” Justice Sheikh said.

Justice Ejaz remarked nobody wants the heritage sites to be damaged. “These heritage sites are as much yours as they are ours.” The judge asked the counsel whether he wanted the public money to go to waste.

Hosain, while concluding his arguments, said there was no material on record to establish there would be no damage to the heritage sites. The counsel said the project should have been planned in a different manner. He pleaded that instead of realising the cost of the ongoing project, the bench should give a judgment, if there is an illegality in it.

Earlier this month, the top court expressed its concerns about the LHC’s decision to halt the construction of the Orange Line near Lahore’s 11 heritage sites without first obtaining expert opinions on the subject. The hearing of the case is adjourned until (today) Wednesday.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • a&a
    Apr 11, 2017 - 1:43PM

    Magical…..Recommend

  • Abid Hussain
    Apr 11, 2017 - 2:24PM

    Only in Pakistan do we have honorable judges making such statements, assuming the reporting is correct. From fixing prices of onion to invoking original jurisdiction, one would think there are more pressing problems for our judiciary to adjudicate. And as Barrister Makhdoom Ali Khan reminded all of us, under original jurisdiction, the court is neither an investigative body, nor a prosecutorial forum. The honorable Chief Justice should set some guidelines for assertions reported by the media. In such uncertain times, only Pakistan loses, despite the “Pakistan First” refrain.Recommend

  • iRonMan!
    Apr 11, 2017 - 3:25PM

    too much talk…where’s the verdict!?Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Apr 11, 2017 - 5:51PM

    @Abid Hussain:
    ICIJ a pulwitzer award winner in reporting this case must be sued by the NS family as it has damaged their reputation domestically and internationally, correct. if they win they stand innocent and on the basis of which they can appeal to the SC to quash the case, then they can take all petitioners to task, so what are they waiting for ? otherwise, it will remain a black spot on them for a long time… Recommend

  • Abid Hussain
    Apr 11, 2017 - 8:37PM

    @ishrat salim:
    Sorry, but I am not interested in passing personal judgements or petty political point scoring. Mine was a comment on how the media reports on important matters and if reported correctly, then honorable judges should speak through their judgements rather than playing to the galleries–if this has been reported correctly. Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Apr 12, 2017 - 6:18AM

    I will believe it when I see it. However we all know that there have been several precedents where ‘etched in stone’ decisions and judgments have been overturned or simply done away with because those were presenting themselves as inconvenient obstacles to the ambitions of certain people. As they say, the only permanent things in life are death and taxes. But on the latter, even that doesn’t apply here.Recommend

  • Madame Sisi
    Apr 12, 2017 - 8:27AM

    Centuries ? Nothing will happen except the country might not be around then.Recommend

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