Panamagate saga ends: Prime Minister sent packing

Published: July 28, 2017
Apex court orders filing of NAB references against PM Nawaz, children and son-in-law.

Apex court orders filing of NAB references against PM Nawaz, children and son-in-law.

ISLAMABAD: In a landmark verdict, the apex court’s five-judge larger bench on Friday unanimously disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif due to his failure to disclose his ‘un-withdrawn receivables, constituting assets’ in his nomination papers filed ahead of the 2013 general elections.

The verdict – announced in the packed courtroom 1 of the Supreme Court – came as a major blow to the ruling family as the court also asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file three different references against PM and his three children – Maryam, Hussain and Hassan – as well as Captain (retd) Safdar.

The court ordered NAB to file the references within six weeks before the accountability court of Rawalpindi-Islamabad on the basis of the material collected and referred to by the Joint Investigating Team (JIT) that probed into Sharif’s offshore assets as revealed in April last year by Panama Papers.

Interestingly, disqualification of the premier was not made on the basis of the corruption charges levelled by the PTI after the emergence of Panama Papers.

The SC disqualified the PM by relying on documents collected by the JIT during its probe through Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) request. The documents showed that the PM had been an employee of a Dubai-based firm, Capital FZE, and as chairman of its board on a salary.

PM Nawaz resigns after SC order to disqualify him

After this revelation was made by the JIT in its report submitted before the three-judge implementation bench of the apex court on July 10, the PM’s counsel had admitted to the PM’s employment but claimed that he never collected his salary. However, the top court based its verdict on the same fact.

“It is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from Capital FZE Jebel Ali, UAE in his nomination papers filed for the General Elections held in 2013 in terms of Section 12(2)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (ROPA), and having furnished a false declaration under solemn affirmation respondent No 1 Nawaz Sharif is not honest in terms of Section 99(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and therefore he is disqualified to be a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)”, said the five judge larger bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, in its four-page order.

The court also asked the President of Pakistan to take all necessary steps under the Constitution to ensure ‘continuation of the democratic process’.

Giving reasons for the PM’s disqualification, the three-judge bench – headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan – observed that it had not been denied that the PM being chairman of the board of Capital FZE was entitled to a salary.

“When the un-withdrawn salary as being receivable is an asset, it was required to be disclosed by respondent No. 1 (PM) in his nomination papers for the Elections of 2013 in terms of Section 12(2)(f) of the ROPA,” said the implementation bench in its 21-page judgment.

The bench also considered that whether the salaries if not withdrawn being receivable as such constitute assets which require disclosure in terms of Section 12(2) of the ROPA, 1976 and whether his failure to disclose them would entail his disqualification.

Hearing concludes: Judgment reserved in Panamagate case

“The word ‘asset’ has not been defined in ROPA, therefore, its ordinary meaning has to be considered for the purposes of this case. The word asset as defined in Black’s Law Dictionary means and contemplates “an asset can be (i) something physical such as cash, machinery, inventory, land and building (ii) an enforceable claim against others such as accounts receivable (iii) rights such as copyright, patent trademark etc (iv) an assumption such as goodwill”.

The definition of the word ‘receivable’ as used in the above mentioned definition as given in the Black’s Law Dictionary is also relevant which means and contemplates “any collectible whether or not it is currently due. That which is due and owing a person or company”.

The word ‘receivable’ also has similar ring and connotation according to Business Dictionary which reads as “Accounting term for amount due from a customer, employee, supplier (as a rebate or refund) or any other party. Receivables are classified as accounts receivable, notes receivable etc and represent an asset of the firm”.

The order said when the court confronted the PM’s counsel Khawaja Haris whether the respondent had ever acquired work permit (Iqama) in Dubai, remained chairman of the board of Capital FZE and was entitled to a salary as such, his reply was in the affirmative with the only addition that respondent No1 never withdrew any salary. “This admission was reiterated in more categorical terms in the written arguments filed by the learned Sr ASC for respondent No 1,” it said.

The ruling family’s legal team is saying that it is the most ‘frivolous ground’ to disqualify the PM. A senior member of Sharif’s legal team said the PM’s disqualification under Article 62(1)(f) was the most unreasonable. He said open-ended monitoring by a judge meant persecution, not prosecution.

NAB to file three references

The five-judge bench larger bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, also asked NAB to file three different references against the PM, his three children and his son-in-law.

The references may be based also on material as may be available with the Federal Investigating Agency and NAB having “any nexus with the assets or which may subsequently become available including material that may come before it pursuant to the Mutual Legal Assistance requests sent by the JIT to different jurisdictions.”

The bench asked NAB to file first reference against the PM and his children relating to properties including flats no 16, 16-A, 17 and 17-A at Avenfield House, Park Lane area of London, United Kingdom.

“In preparing and filing this reference, NAB shall also consider the material already collected during the course of investigations conducted earlier,” it ordered.

The court also asked to file reference against the PM and his family in connection with Azizia Steel Company and Hill Metal Establishment. NAB was also directed to file reference against them for possessing 16 companies.

These include  Flagship Investments Limited, Hartstone Properties Limited,  Que Holdings Limited,        Quint Eaton Place 2 Limited, Quint Saloane Limited (formerly Quint Eaton Place Limited), Quaint Limited, Flagship Securities Limited, Quint Gloucester Place Limited, Quint Paddington Limited (formerly Rivates Estates Limited), Flagship Developments Limited, Alanna Services Limited (BVI), Lankin SA (BVI), Chadron Inc, Ansbacher Inc, Coomber Inc and Capital FZE (Dubai).”

SECP chief arrested from court premises

The court directed NAB to file reference against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for possessing assets and funds beyond his known sources of income.

It also asked NAB  to include in the proceedings all other persons including Sheikh Saeed, Musa Ghani, Kashif Masood Qazi, Javaid Kiyani and Saeed Ahmed, who have any direct or indirect nexus or connection with the actions of respondents PM , his children and Ishaq Dar leading to acquisition of assets and funds beyond their known sources of income.

NAB may file supplementary reference(s) if and when any other asset, which is not prima facie reasonably accounted for, is discovered.

The accountability court shall proceed with and decide the aforesaid references within a period of six months from the date of filing such references; and in case the court finds any deed, document or affidavit filed by or on behalf of the respondent(s) or any other person to be fake, false, forged or fabricated, it shall take appropriate action against the concerned person(s) in accordance with law.

The chief justice of Pakistan is requested to nominate a judge of this court to supervise and monitor implementation of this judgment in letter and spirit and oversee the proceedings conducted by NAB and the accountability court.

“This court commends and appreciates the hard work and efforts made by members of the JIT and their support and ancillary staff in preparing and filing a comprehensive and detailed report as per our orders.

“Their tenure of service shall be safeguarded and protected and no adverse action of any nature including transfer and posting shall be taken against them without informing the monitoring judge of this court nominated by the Honourble CJP,” said the order

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Reader Comments (54)

  • Alif
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:04PM

    Leaving everything behind – Power will win!Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:13PM

    Hat-trick by NS!Recommend

  • Proud Pakistani
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:20PM

    Alas! History is repeating itself and 14th elected Prime Minister of Pakistan has been dismissed.
    “Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it”Recommend

  • Dilawar
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:22PM

    Pathetic decision of Supreme CourtRecommend

  • saba ali
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:23PM

    going Nawaz going Recommend

  • FAZ
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:23PM

    Now lets see what happens to the IK caseRecommend

  • shafiq ahmed
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:24PM

    Congrats to All, Pakistan WonRecommend

  • Abrar Ra
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:26PM

    Palm media team pun in force. There couldn’t b a bigger day for Pakistan. All hail to the judiciary.Recommend

  • Karachi 3
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:27PM

    Let there be a rigourous accountability of all who have been in power since 1985 be it polititians,government servants or others. The country needs to make a new beginingRecommend

  • fahim
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:32PM

    Thanks for good 4 years but justice has prevailed Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:49PM

    Its a judicial coup Javed Hashmi you told us long time ago.Recommend

  • M. Asad Farooqi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:56PM

    Allah Pak nay Imran Khan ko suurkhroo kerdiya hai ab. Ab IK ko chaiyae k achi tarah Pakistan k logo k liyae kaam keray aur mulk ko taraqii kerwaai jis tarah Peshawar mein ker rahain hain yeah.. AmeenRecommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:57PM

    It’s not a historic verdict it’s continuity of history of sc.Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:57PM

    Shame on you the judiciary.Recommend

  • TSS
    Jul 28, 2017 - 12:59PM

    Nawaz Shareef at a Public Gathering:
    “O’ Nawaz Shareef tumhare kehne per istifa dega”

    Beizzat hokar Supreme Court k kehne per !

    Maryam Nawaz:
    “Aaj mein ne woh haq b ada kardia jo mujh per wajib nahi tha”

    “Aaj Supreme Court k judges ne b woh haq ada kardia jo un per wajib nahi tha”

    Hussain Nawaz:
    “Alhamdulillah London k flats hum own karte hein”

    “Alhamdulillah corruption aur hum tax payers k paisoan se woh london k flats khareeday jo aaj prove b hogaya”Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:00PM

    I can see anarchy in coming days. No doubt there is a grand democracy.Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:01PM

    Alas infant Democracy died in incubator today.Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:03PM

    Corrupt greedy Establishment wins people lose.Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:06PM

    From dictator to president to judiciary the sword continues to cut heads of elected representatives. Who says Pakistan is for the people.Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:18PM

    A lesson for politicians! Join hands to make new constitution. This constitution has failed to strengthen democracy.Recommend

  • Sameer
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:20PM

    Finally the cancerous tumour ailing the Infant has been surgically removed. This infant will grow up to be a big and strong democratic system.Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:23PM

    Nawaz Sharif you have become Hero overnight.Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:32PM

    Time will come people of Pakistan will cry for you but you should say No thanks.Recommend

  • Khan
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:33PM

    Pakistan zindabad!Recommend

  • Mona
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:34PM

    Accept the verdict and shut the __ up !Recommend

  • Mo
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:37PM

    I enjoy the ever ending loadshedding, stabilized prices, growing Gdp, better infrastructure and improving life expectancy figures as well as business expansion. PmlN 2018. I8Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:39PM

    My request to Nawaz Sharif to quit politics. This country dosnt need you.Recommend

  • RF
    Jul 28, 2017 - 1:50PM

    Not really! anarchy will be shelved forever.Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Jul 28, 2017 - 2:04PM

    The fruits of Jinnah’s invention. From frying pan into fire.Recommend

  • ABC
    Jul 28, 2017 - 2:10PM

    From the repetitive comments, it seems like someone is having a heart attack.Recommend

  • qaisar malik
    Jul 28, 2017 - 2:12PM

    Unacceptable decision of court.Recommend

  • Sabi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 2:24PM

    You see! Dictator is given guard of honor but elected prime minister is humiliated.
    Who owns Pakistan decide it yourself.Recommend

  • Bijli
    Jul 28, 2017 - 2:40PM

    Don’t be in a hurry. History will judge this decision.@shafiq ahmed: Recommend

  • Danda
    Jul 28, 2017 - 2:42PM

    Just heard Musharraf and his views. Believe me it smells… God save Pakistan.Recommend

  • Pakistani-American
    Jul 28, 2017 - 2:45PM

    A great day for Pakistan. No one is above the law, not even the Prime Minister. The Supreme Court did its job. I look forward to a new Prime Minister. Recommend

  • Ravian
    Jul 28, 2017 - 2:54PM

    Last hope for this nation was Nawaz Sharif.
    Dark day for Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rollin & Trollin
    Jul 28, 2017 - 3:08PM

    It will stink a lot more when they round up Zardari and his gang.Recommend

  • azmat
    Jul 28, 2017 - 3:24PM

    @Proud Pakistani:
    And certainly Nawaz did not learn from historyRecommend

  • Khalid rashid
    Jul 28, 2017 - 3:26PM

    What a decision !!! iqama has become the main reason for his disqualification .The most competent JIT could only find this it fair?Recommend

  • az
    Jul 28, 2017 - 3:33PM

    Imran Khan is the real Hero of Pakistan, he fight till end, remained determined and focused and in the end Allah blessed Pakistani Nation… This is a very good sign for Pakistan, that SC really performed their vital role against powerful man, now people of Pakistan should understand about right and wrong, and must speak against wrong.Recommend

  • AQ
    Jul 28, 2017 - 3:36PM

    May Shairf’s never come to power may people learn to reject the enemies in disguise like PMLN. PMLN and Sharifs should be jail for life, or exiled for life.Recommend

  • Ovias Rizvi
    Jul 28, 2017 - 4:06PM

    Despite being a UK-born national, I have always looked at Pakistan as my real home as my parents were from Pakistan. However, I could never understand why Pakistan was in dire condition until I visited it myself. It is criminal in today’s day and age that Pakistan is in the position it finds itself. How can a country have 12-hour electricity shortages EVERY day? Why are there gas shortages and very poor education and health infrastructure? Why are the rich super rich and the poor, well very poor. The conclusion was simple – corrupt leadership and inept action from the Pakistan public. It felt that the Pakistanis were already willing to accept the corrupt leaders as they always vote them in.

    The only hope for Pakistan is Imran Khan. I really hope Pakistanis can see beyond their current situation and look to invest in their future.Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jul 28, 2017 - 5:01PM

    Bhindian, pls. keep your Bhidian agenda to yourself and at least have the guts to use your real name! Jinnah did the right thing by DESTROYING colonial India – its 3 pieces now and many more to come when Indian Muslims, Christians and Sikhs rise up to destroy Hindu tyranny.
    In the meantime stop undermining Jinnah’s tremendous achievements.Recommend

  • nabidad
    Jul 28, 2017 - 6:07PM

    It is a fall of another Indian asset in Pakistan. Hats off to Supreme Court of Pakistan’s decision. Recommend

  • Daddabbu
    Jul 28, 2017 - 9:00PM

    Only in Pakistan, convict first try later. In civil society, a case is litigated in lower courts and works its way to the highest court of the land. In extraordinary situations after lower court verdict, case may ascend to Supreme Court by-passing appeals courts. In all case a trial is held before conviction.
    Here, the apex court acted on the basis of findings of an investigative panel which included military! A total mockery, Nawaz Sharif is not a stellar leader but out all the protagonists in this fiasco, he is the only one elected by the people!Recommend

  • It is Written So be It
    Jul 28, 2017 - 9:25PM

    Mubarak Ho! Altaf gone. Nawaz gone. Zardari going soon. Insh’Allah!Recommend

  • bilal bhatti
    Jul 28, 2017 - 10:02PM

    Darkest day for Pakistan.
    this decision should be condemned.Recommend

  • Tabassum_uk
    Jul 28, 2017 - 10:13PM

    Now for Rana sanaullah and his gang, Rehman Malik, shebaz, and all the other corrupt cronies who have infested the various institutions of Pakistan. The surgeons knife should cut deep, for this cancer needs drastic action. All the funds should be confiscated like they are in UK law courts against convicted people.Recommend

  • Saad
    Jul 28, 2017 - 10:40PM

    Well played BOYS !!!!Recommend

  • Ahmar Khan
    Jul 29, 2017 - 12:05AM

    Remember 1971. The leader of the most popularly voted party was not allowed to be the PM. Bhutto lost the elections but came into power on the shoulders of establishment. How did that end for Pakistan?

    Same old story.Recommend

  • Dayum
    Jul 29, 2017 - 1:43AM

    @ Sabi

    You and your kind still mindlessly following NS need to be sent to an Island where NS can rule over you forever. Fortunately, he and his family are done for in Pakistan. Right now he is very busy trying to escape the country leaving his followers, like yourself, alone.Recommend

  • MJ-Sid
    Jul 29, 2017 - 3:11AM

    Nawaz did not learn from his mistakes. He was earlier ousted when he hurt the “establishment” by stabbing it in the back during Kargil fiasco and playing with fire when he tried to direct a plane with a Pakistani general on board to India. His current crime is outing the proceedings of a sensitive meeting and throwing the Army under the bus with respect to Taliban. Also developing business and personal ties with India and not giving the due cut to the military for CPEC. I wish that this disqualification was about corruption… I am not defending Nawaz and I know that him and his immediate circle is corrupt to the core but there are so many other corrupt politicians, judges and army officers that are also corrupt but they will never be held accountable. Recommend

  • Abdul rehman
    Jul 29, 2017 - 5:12AM

    all those celebrating will regret one day this decision if not than i have to believe all was a plan and judge’s were the too because no one can say anything to them for fear of contempt of court once they are retired then all legal politics and journalist expert will literally translate and tell the true writer of story. yes panama was international story but it was with high skill moulded for paki politics.wait how this game turn out to be. i voted for menisfesto and NS worked well for his manifesto.Recommend

  • F Khan
    Jul 29, 2017 - 11:37PM

    @Dayum: This is all you could answer Sabi, that he needs to go to an island where NS could rule him.Sabi is 100% right this controversial decision on the basis of a resident visa is flimsy. Do you know 4 our of these 5 judges took oath on infamous Musharaf PCO. Do you not think there should be some standards for sadiq and ameen for judges as well. NS is not sent home due to corruption that still needs to be proved at NAB. Recommend

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