LAHORE: ‘In their judgment announced on Friday, honourable judges of the Supreme Court have more than once declared their reluctance to take any action until they found it was justified on the facts before them or [those] concealed from them,” declared a statement issued to the media by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Saturday.
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It further stated that there could always be honest differences in the ways laws could or should be interpreted. The statement casts a shadow of doubt over the joint investigation team’s findings which led to the disqualification of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
The statement further added that a section of the people, including many outside the group of defendants in the case, expressed reservations about the unusual methods employed to prosecute the respondents.
“These people need to be satisfied so that justice is not only done, but is also seen to be done,” the HRCP continued. “One way to do this will be to ensure that the democratic system continues without let or hindrance from any quarter. It will especially be necessary to ensure that the civil-military relations are regulated within a democratic framework.” It added the impression that democratic dispensation is affected by any institution or service must be banished from the minds of the people.
Commenting on the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama papers case and subsequent developments, the HRCP called for a nationwide effort to build strong democratic traditions. “The highest court in the land has spoken and its command has been duly obeyed. This is an occasion not so much for celebration as it is for sober reflection on a case that revealed a great deal and should prick the people's conscience for long.”
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The human rights organisation hoped that the present verdict would survive scrutiny by tomorrow's judicial minds and the collective wisdom of a democratic community.
HRCP Chairperson Dr Mehdi Hasan said his organisation had proof of their belief that certain facts were concealed from the court. He said the copy of the facts compiled by an officer of the HRCP could only be made available by Monday. The chairman said the parliament should have proceeded against Nawaz Sharif for lying to the house. “Had this been done, the matter he claimed would never have gone to court.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2017.