ISLAMABAD: The counsel for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children had a bad day at the Supreme Court on Thursday.
Since the very outset, Salman Akram Raja – who is representing Maryam Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz – struggled before the three-judge bench, finding it difficult to respond to the barrage of tough questions directed at him.
The fourth-day proceeding began at 9:30 with honourbale judges all set to hear the case. But even before Raja could start, the bench asked him to go out of the court and speak to the media first.
The court was clearly unhappy over the documents leaking to the media a day before they were to be presented before the court by the counsel for the PM’s children. The documents from the United Arab Emirates were all over TV channels a night before and in newspaper on Thursday morning.
Raja apologised to the court over the leak, but said he had not hand in it. He added he would check how the documents were leaked to the media.
The counsel was then faced with three to four questions on every point he argued.
All the tense moments for the counsel – coming in the form of questions over the transfer of machinery to Dubai, the submission of forged documents with use of Calibri font and the refusal of Qatari Prince to show up for testimony – were moments of laughter for lawyers, politicians, journalists and other people sitting in the jam-packed courtroom.
Giving Raja one of the documents which he failed to find with reference to the case, Justice Azmat Saeed asked him to return the same to him, quipping, “I do not trust you with my document.”
A smiling Justice Azmat was clearly referring to the forgery committed by one of his clients — Maryam Nawaz.
“Yes my lord! It is too harsh to hold it,” retorted Raja.
Justice Saeed also lamented that seeing forged documents broke his heart.
To one of the questions about transfer of money from the UAE to the UK, Raja said thousands of Pakistanis were doing business and not all of them were probed like their clients.
The reply from Justice Ijazul Ahsan alerted journalists, politicians and lawyers. “Not all of those people have their parents as prime minister,” he responded, adding that in such cases they had added responsibility to give details of how the funds were transferred.
Justice Ahsan’s reply to one of the objections to the JIT for not recording a statement from the Qatari Prince also left the audience in fits.
“He is not accepting jurisdiction of the courts, not even in the Pakistan embassy [in Doha]. I reckon he must not be so photo-conscious that he resists appearing even on a video link,” he commented.
As the Panamagate case draws to its conclusion, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmakers and politicians have starting taking keen interest in the case, and showing up at the court.
On Thursday, Senator Sherry Rehman, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Latif Khosa were seen taking notes and even holding short pressers.
When his attention was drawn to this by a journalist, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said that the PPP was a team not part of the contest, but it wanted to take away the winning trophy.