Acceptability of JIT documents debatable, observes bench head

Published: July 17, 2017
SHARES
Email
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves as his son, Hussain Nawaz looks on. PHOTO: REUTERS / FILE

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves as his son, Hussain Nawaz looks on. PHOTO: REUTERS / FILE

ISLAMABAD: A judge of the Supreme Court’s special bench hearing the Panamagate case on Monday observed that the documents related to the prime minister’s employment in Capital FZE were not the ‘source documents’, but came through the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) on the request of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh was referring to a key document submitted by the six-member probe team to confirm that the prime minister was employed with the Capital FZE as its board chairman from August 6, 2006 to April 20, 2014.

The document – a letter from Shehab Sultan Mesmar of the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) dated July 4 – has been issued in response to the JIT’s query over the offshore company’s ownership.

The JIT stated in its report that Nawaz had been the chairman of the board for Capital FZE from August 7, 2006 to April 20, 2014, and was receiving a salary of 10,000 dirhams. The salary was revised on February 2, 2007 vide Employment Contract Amendment Form 9 – duly signed by the respondent No 1, i.e. the prime minister – filed with JAFZA.

According to legal experts, the documents related to Capital FZE are certified as they have been obtained through the MLA under Section 21 of the NAO 1999. Even the PML-N lawyers fear that the documents could create trouble for the PM as question on his qualification may arise in view of the JIT’s findings on that document.

JIT finds massive increase in Sharif family’s wealth in 1992-93

Justice Ijazul Ahsan also observed that the JIT had established that some months of salary had been received.

Naeem Bukhari, the counsel for PTI chief Imran Khan, also contended that the record showed the salary was released to the prime minister from the offshore company in June and August 2013.

However, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, heading the three-judge bench, observed: “It is debatable whether these documents, which have been collected by the JIT, are acceptable without questioning the person(s), who signed them.”

“Can we say that the JIT’s report has been proved beyond doubt,” he asked the PTI’s counsel.

Justice Ejaz also observed that the JIT’s findings were not binding on the Supreme Court “because it is the court’s discretion how it takes them”.

Evidence that ‘alone can send PM packing’

Surprisingly, the PTI’s counsel also stated that the JIT’s findings were not binding on the court because it was a matter between the Supreme Court and the JIT.

Likewise, Bukhari seemed unable to assist the court about the admissibility of the JIT evidence.

When the bench asked him to assist it regarding the consequences of the JIT findings, Bukhari submitted that the court should disqualify the prime minister under Article 62(1)(f) in view of the JIT report.

“Likewise, if the bench feels necessary, then the prime minister should be summoned and cross-examined,” he added.

The PTI chief’s counsel also stated that the Sharif family also forged the documents as it was also established by the JIT.

‘SC may disqualify Nawaz under Article 62-B’

Justice Ejaz remarked that they would open Volume X of the report for transparency.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (29)

  • All
    Jul 17, 2017 - 12:17PM

    No politician is up to the mark. Therefore, let people decide through next elections, period. Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Jul 17, 2017 - 12:23PM

    No Mercy for Looters, Forgers, Cheater, swindlers…

    Time to wipe this Corrupt Mafia out once and for all.Recommend

  • Copper
    Jul 17, 2017 - 1:27PM

    @All:
    What an argument. If no one should be investigated, close down police, FIA and NAB. Election doesn’t give license of corruptionRecommend

  • Jahangir
    Jul 17, 2017 - 1:59PM

    They will remove the elected PM who is working honestly throughout this tenure.After his removal nobody will talk about corruption and Panama .and a new gang of plunderer will start looting the poor people.Recommend

  • Mukhtar
    Jul 17, 2017 - 2:14PM

    @All:
    What a dumb statement. Next time if a thief robs you, you make him stand for elections and let the people decide if he robbed you or not. What a dumb thought.Recommend

  • Aamir
    Jul 17, 2017 - 2:20PM

    Why not Judges, politicians, bureaucrates, technocrates, businessmen, generals and intelligence departments heads initially be screened publically and later put under intensive investigations? 1200 billions recorded corruption every year can not be done only by Nawaz Sharif or his family other black sheeps brought forward as well. Recommend

  • Sameer
    Jul 17, 2017 - 2:21PM

    @All:
    By your logic Musharaf would still be president because people picked him in referendum. Accountability for all otherwise not even the guardians will be able to defend against public mob justice.Recommend

  • Sameer
    Jul 17, 2017 - 2:23PM

    @Jahangir:
    He is working honestly alright. He is honestly looting…dont worry PPP will face a similar faith God willing.Recommend

  • Bhatti
    Jul 17, 2017 - 2:24PM

    @All:
    Will people decide whether corruption took place or not? What’re the judges there for then? We can do referendums and polls on everything.Recommend

  • Sajid Rabbani
    Jul 17, 2017 - 2:32PM

    Volume 10 of JIT investigation would prove to be a deciding factor.

    It would be opened, I think, when PMLN submit all his objections.

    JIT teams seems very smart and there must be some very important evidence in vol 10Recommend

  • Shahid
    Jul 17, 2017 - 6:29PM

    Supreme Court must give a decision ASAP one way or other. This uncertainty is destroying Pakistans economy.Recommend

  • Wizarat Rizvi
    Jul 17, 2017 - 8:42PM

    Is it not interesting that the accused , Mian Nawaz Sharif, Mian Shehbaz Sharif, and Ishaq Dar are not challenging the information that they have enormous income and wealth without explaining the sources; but they are objecting JIT reports on technicalities only that the documents needs to be notarized etc.

    The burden of proof is on the Prime Minister, the Finance Minister, and the Chief Minister to provide evidence of their increases in wealth.

    Recommend

  • Shahid
    Jul 17, 2017 - 9:08PM

    Supreme Court should not have taken this case if they are unable to make up Thier mind. Nation is loosing confidence on them and country is becoming a laughingstock in world. Whole country is paralyzed for a year now as the never ending saga goes on.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jul 17, 2017 - 10:07PM

    @Shahid:
    I think our SC may have to relocate to Dubai to make objective, unbiased and timely decisions without the fear or perceived threat of retribution.Recommend

  • No
    Jul 17, 2017 - 10:49PM

    No! @ Rizvi The burden of proof does not lie with the accused but it lies with the accusersRecommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Jul 17, 2017 - 11:41PM

    SC needs to ask each member of Team Sharif how their wealth increased by factors of twenty to 90 over a very short time with no corresponding increase in income!!
    They should have no trouble remembering just how that feat was legally achieved! NOT!Recommend

  • abdul rehman
    Jul 18, 2017 - 1:27AM

    only thing i think needed to be investigated is whether the money has been transferred from pakistan or not if yes than accused if nor then drama over.Recommend

  • Salman
    Jul 18, 2017 - 5:29AM

    @No:
    So why were only the accused called by JIT and not the accusers?Recommend

  • Noman
    Jul 18, 2017 - 8:15AM

    It would be great, if a board of such nature can be formed permanently. working independly with only one objective of providing evidences of corruption to SC for top tier politics, army, judiciary, bureaucracy, FIA and NAB itself with timed targets.Recommend

  • No
    Jul 18, 2017 - 10:41AM

    @ Salman The accused were called to to JIT to ascertain the veracity of accusations. This trial is legally flawed as it is not being conducted on the legal precept that one is considered innocent until proven guilty. It could establish a dangerous precept. Recommend

  • OK
    Jul 18, 2017 - 11:05AM

    Accusers had already accused and the latter were called to answer accusations. Recommend

  • Ask
    Jul 18, 2017 - 11:39AM

    @ Salman Dangerous precedent of considering guilty on the basis of suspicions. Recommend

  • Jump In Thugs
    Jul 18, 2017 - 11:57AM

    JIT has not been immune to the political climate and the public pressure. Recommend

  • NOC
    Jul 18, 2017 - 12:37PM

    From now onwards not one should be allowed to enter politics before obtaining clearance and ÑOC from NAB.Recommend

  • Salman
    Jul 18, 2017 - 1:32PM

    @No
    But it wasn’t a trail, it was a JIT at which sharif and family had an opportunity to present their money trail and evidences. If they had been able to, they would have been cleared by now. Check with any lawyer, once you accept ownership of a property onus is on you to provide money trail, source of funds, etc. Hope that clarifies…Recommend

  • Salman
    Jul 18, 2017 - 1:34PM

    @Ask:
    Well no, JIT has not declared anyone guilty, their basic conclusion is that sharifs were not able to justify money trail etc. Any layman can see that.Recommend

  • Money Trail
    Jul 18, 2017 - 10:57PM

    The further you go back in time the harder it is to document money trail. It is nothing but a witchunt. A political stunt to browbeat your opponents. Recommend

  • Money Trail
    Jul 18, 2017 - 10:59PM

    NS is certainly not an angel but he is a lesser evil than most politicians.Recommend

  • Ask
    Jul 18, 2017 - 11:29PM

    @Salman But the whole JIT exercise was premised on presumed guilt and the ones accused were supposed to prove their innocence. Recommend

Leave Your Reply Below

Your comments may appear in The Express Tribune paper. For this reason we encourage you to provide your city. The Express Tribune does not bear any responsibility for user comments.

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments FAQ.

More in Pakistan