CJP takes up Sharif’s appeal for joint trial next week

Will also hear PTI appeal for judicial commission to probe PPP, PML-N foreign funds


Hasnaat Malik November 12, 2017
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar is all set to hear two important petitions next week – one filed by deposed premier Nawaz Sharif and the other by PTI leaders Asad Umar and Shireen Mazari.

Sharif’s petition seeks a review of a part of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in which the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been directed to file three separate corruption references against him. Sharif wants the three references to be clubbed together.

The PTI leaders, meanwhile, have requested a probe into the party accounts of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for allegedly receiving funds from foreign sources.

The petitions from Sharif and the PTI leaders were previously returned by the Supreme Court registrar with objections. The petitioners had then appealed the decision, which will now be heard by the CJP.

If Sharif and the PTI leaders succeed in convincing the CJP into admitting the petitions, then he may set aside the objections and ask the Registrar Office to allot petition numbers and fix the cases before relevant benches for initial hearing, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Supreme Court to rule on PM Nawaz's fate

The CJP will take up the PTI leaders’ appeal on November 15 and that of Sharif on November 16.

Sharif’s petition was filed through Khawaja Haris under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, making the federal government, NAB, the accountability court and his children as respondents.

The deposed PM requested the Supreme Court to declare that the July 28 verdict directing NAB to file three separate references against him “is as per incuriam, being repugnant to the provisions of Articles 4, 9, 10-A, 13 and 25 of the Constitution”.

On October 20, the SC Registrar Office had returned Sharif’s constitutional petition raising objections.

Sharif, through his counsel, again filed an appeal against the objections raised by the Registrar Office.

The appeal stated that there is no constitutional bar on any citizen to approach the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution, adding that the court has unlimited jurisdiction to intervene at any time against the judgment, which is per incuriam.

It also contended that any invalid enunciation of law, which shall cause drastic effects on the people at large and the state, is liable to be revisited by the apex court in exercise of power under Article 184(3) of the Constitution. The Supreme Court is thus requested to set aside the Registrar Office order and the constitutional petition should be fixed before the bench for initial hearing.

Court reserves verdict on joint trial plea

Sharif requested the Supreme Court to declare that multiple trials on a single charge would prejudice his fundamental rights, fair trial and protection against double punishment, guaranteed under Articles 4, 10-A and 13 of the Constitution.

Sharif also prayed to the apex court to suspend the accountability court’s proceedings till the filing of a consolidated reference by NAB in respect of the alleged commission of offence under Section 9(a)(v) of the NAO, 1999.

The petition states that the filing of multiple references against an accused for each asset allegedly owned, possessed or acquired by him, disproportionate to his known sources of income, is repugnant to Section 9 (a)(v) of the NAO, 1999.

“Separate trials of an accused for a single offence are contrary to the principles of criminal justice and procedure provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrCP) 1898,” the petition adds.

Panamagate case: Sharif family’s review petitions thrown out

It argues that filing of multiple references against Sharif for an offence falling under Section 9(a)(v) of the NAO, 1999 is not only repugnant to the law, but it shall also prejudice all future criminal trials in Pakistan, particularly cases involving allegations of acquisition of assets beyond means and, as such, merits setting aside in exercise of this court’s jurisdiction inter alia under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution or in terms of this court’s inherent jurisdiction and obligations.

And, PTI lawyer Chaudhry Faisal Hussain filed a petition on behalf of party leaders Asad Umar and Shireeen Mazari, alleging that the PML-N and the PPP received funds from foreign and forbidden sources.

The petitioners requested the court to form a judicial commission to investigate the parties’ funds and to withdraw their election symbols. They also called for imposing a ban on the PML-N for “acting against the integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan”.

The PTI leaders also sought disqualification of the PPP and the PML-N chiefs for allegedly submitting false certificates regarding their parties’ funds.

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