'Chances of PM Sharif’s disqualification are slim'

Published: April 20, 2017
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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: As the Supreme Court is going to announce the much-awaited Panamagate judgement on Thursday, legal experts believe the chances of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification are slim.

However some experts believe if SC forms a commission for further probe, PM Nawaz may be asked to step down from his  position till completion of the inquiry.

“I don’t think the Supreme Court can directly disqualify the prime minister by declaring that he is not Sadiq and Ameen [honest and righteous],” says Supreme Court Bar Association President Rasheed A Rizvi.

PML-N mulls options ahead of Panamagate verdict

He, however, expressed concern over some of the observations made by the judges in the course of hearing which, according to him, created hype among the masses and now the people are expecting the premier’s disqualification.

The judges should speak through their judgments, he added.

Likewise, senior lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan believes it is very difficult to give a judgement against the Sharif family.

PTI lawyer Chaudhry Faisal Hussain on the other hand contends that the Sharif family had concealed facts from the top court and added that the premier has also given misstatements regarding the ownership of the London properties; therefore, he should be disqualified.

Another active lawyer Mahmood Awan says all eyes are on Justice Asif Saeed Khosa. He, however, says that the Supreme Court may define the parameters regarding applicability of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

There is a consensus among senior jurists that Justice Khosa’s verdict will be unique. Still, there is suspense that who would author the main judgement because every member of the five-member larger bench is writing his own note.

Justice Khosa is regarded as a top jurist of the country in matters of criminal trial, as he has authored a bold declaration by maintaining the death sentence of Mumtaz Qadri in the murder of Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.

Likewise, he has given rulings against two serving high court judges over their conduct. Justice Khosa has also authored an interesting note by endorsing the disqualification of his class fellow, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

Legal experts say dissenting and additional notes cannot be ruled out in the Panamagate judgment. It is interesting to see who will author the majority verdict, wherein the top court will give its findings on every query.

It is expected that the majority judgement will form an inquiry commission to verify the documents, submitted by both the parties to the case. Moreover, the larger bench will interpret Articles 62, 63 and 66 of the Constitution.

Panamagate verdict will last for centuries: judge

Similarly, the Supreme Court may ask for reinvestigation of the Hudybia Paper Mills case. The NAB chairman may face a tough time in view of the SC’s upcoming verdict.

The superior judiciary adjudicated a number of cases related to the Sharif family. The family has been successful in getting relief in many matters.

After resuming the charge on March 24, 2009, the restored judiciary headed by former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had decided to take up an appeal against the disqualification of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif.

On March 31, 2009, a five-member bench, headed by Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jilani, stayed its February 25 order and restored Shahbaz Sharif as the chief minister of Punjab.

The same bench on May 26, 2009 declared both Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif as qualified to contest elections. In the NRO case, PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif had also moved a petition for striking down the controversial law.

Panamagate suspense to end tomorrow

On January 18, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld a verdict of the Lahore High Court and directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to release assets of the Sharif brothers.

A three-member bench, headed by the chief justice himself rejecting the Lahore High Court’s appeal had said keeping the assets in the custody was an unlawful and unconstitutional act.

Earlier, the LHC on October 4, 2011 asked NAB to return to the Sharif family, shares, certificates worth Rs100 million, prize bonds of Rs115 million, documents pertaining to land in Murree, Chaudhry Sugar Mills, Hudabiya Engineering Services, Hamza Shipping Corporation and Ramzan Sugar Mills.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had accepted Shahid Orakzai’s petition for regular hearing against the qualification of Shahbaz Sharif as Punjab CM. The petitioner had contended that Shahbaz Sharif had vacated the PP-10 seat and resigned from PP-48 seat after becoming the chief executive of the province. “Without any seat in the assembly, he cannot hold the office,” he added.

It is worth mentioning that Sharif’s eligibility case could not be decided by the apex court during his five years tenure.

In November 2011, the SC had also admitted the petitions of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, PML-N presidents of all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to probe the memo.

Nawaz Sharif himself appeared before the court on December 1, 2011 in the same case and on his first appearance, the court had given him relief by forming a commission to probe the alleged memo.

Three years ago, the Lahore High Court had quashed a NAB reference against the Sharif family in the Hudybia Paper Mills case. Even the LHC declared that NAB could not reinvestigate corruption allegation against them in that matter.

However, the Lahore High Court recently declared the relocation of sugar mills by the Sharif family as illegal.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Basheer Pakistan
    Apr 20, 2017 - 8:52AM

    Such a misleading title to the news. You should be ashamed TribuneRecommend

  • BrainBro
    Apr 20, 2017 - 9:22AM

    Good. Less chaos, more economics please…Recommend

  • JKhan
    Apr 20, 2017 - 9:30AM

    Apparently all such ‘experts’ have collected their emoluments.Recommend

  • Andrew
    Apr 20, 2017 - 9:31AM

    I personally agree with the statement that the chances of NS being disqualified are pretty slim. I am not a a lawyer nor do I have any background or association with lawyers and judges. I just watch the events and precedents and chances are pretty slim of him being disqualified. Recommend

  • Bilal
    Apr 20, 2017 - 9:41AM

    otherwise, the high morals of youth will be buried …..Recommend

  • Hasan
    Apr 20, 2017 - 9:54AM

    Sadly, corruption has taken deep roots in Pakistan. Under these circumstances one must consider who is least evil and yet best candidate to govern.
    Pakistan Zindabad.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Apr 20, 2017 - 10:19AM

    In the end, all this will be like a hot air ballon.Recommend

  • muhammad usman ali
    Apr 20, 2017 - 10:59AM

    well.he ( nawaz and company) is a bunch of lairs and he should had been disqualified at the very start instead of lingering the proceedings. morally ( which sadly nawaz and family lacks) he should drown in the deep dirty waters. after all rules are for poor Pakistanis not the thieve.rest in peace in judiciary and pakistan and the fair decisions.Recommend

  • Masood
    Apr 20, 2017 - 11:23AM

    It will be a saddest day in the history of Pakistan, it will take decades to shore up such thieves before the law, rather it will never happen since these people sitting in the parliament will never have such laws!Recommend

  • citizen26
    Apr 20, 2017 - 11:41AM

    If PM is not disqualified then doing corruption is part of law thenRecommend

  • Benazir
    Apr 20, 2017 - 12:05PM

    Nothing will happen. Maximum another enquiry nothing else. Enjoy loadshedding and pass it on to your children and their children.Recommend

  • rustam
    Apr 20, 2017 - 12:19PM

    @BrainBro:
    While your wish is a national wish, you will agree with me that we need to address the root cause.
    All this chaos is caused by allegations of corruption, money laundering, etc.These issues are needed to be dealt with ASAP.
    We can ignore short term pain for long term gain, as per universal wisdom.Recommend

  • tasadiq
    Apr 20, 2017 - 12:24PM

    @ JKhan

    Well said.

    This article and many others in various media are planted stories by the rich and powerful to look after NS and corruption -they know when he falls, it will have a domino effect. Why do you think AAZ is supporting NS so vehemently.Recommend

  • AQ
    Apr 20, 2017 - 12:42PM

    Just hope SC would not be like NAB and FBR.Recommend

  • AQ
    Apr 20, 2017 - 12:44PM

    @Andrew:
    So, you don’t know the laws and commenting on the decision, on what grounds you thin it will not happen other than biased judgement?Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Apr 20, 2017 - 12:49PM

    @Benazir:
    @Masood:
    Viva “democracy is best revenge” !Recommend

  • Joker
    Apr 20, 2017 - 12:54PM

    This is a historic moment for the country. It will mark the turn of politics from courtrooms to the streets. This decision will make or break the population’s trust in the judiciary’s role against corruption. Could prove to be disastrous in the future.Recommend

  • Feroz
    Apr 20, 2017 - 1:17PM

    Pakistan not really known for rule of law, sanctity of evidence or Constitutional propriety. Everything depends on whether the third umpire raises his finger, nothing else will matter. The story to justify the action can be concocted later.Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Apr 20, 2017 - 2:19PM

    The Sharifs should expect the worst on April 20 and would be lucky getting away with disqualification. Let us hope that the transfer of power is peaceful and not a military takeover. Better leave the office in honour if not the return of National wealth to the Treasury.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Apr 20, 2017 - 2:34PM

    Chances of Pakistan’s freedom from Corruption are noneRecommend

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