SC set to determine legality of absolute bar under Article 63(1)(c)

Another bench seeks international arbitration body's order regarding JIT's Volume 10


Hasnaat Mailk October 03, 2018
PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has sought replies to determine if the bar on a citizen holding dual nationality from being a member of parliament is absolute under Article 63(1)(c) of the Constitution.

A seven-judge larger bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar has asked counsels for Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar and other lawmakers to submit replies in this regard.

During the hearing, a member of the bench, Justice Umar Ata Bandial, observed that the apex court's interpretation should be liberal and not punitive.

"The Constitution is forever and we should give a chance to those who renounce their foreign nationality and joint parliament," he adds.
However, Justice Gulzar Ahmad observed that when anyone acquires a foreign nationality, then he will be disqualified permanently.

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The court is seized with the question: whether the surrender of foreign nationality made by a citizen vying for a public office is permanent in nature or revocable Bilal Hassan Minto, amicus curiae (friend of court), opined that a person stood permanently disqualified to contest election for a public office the moment he/she acquired nationality of another country.

However, the bench asked him to submit his formulations in writing. The hearing of case is adjourned for a week. Meanwhile, another bench led by Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed sought a UK-based international arbitration body order, seeking Volume 10 of the Joint Investigation Team report in the Panamagate case.

Broadsheet LLC has approached the apex court to seek a copy of the report on the Panama Papers case for a final decision on the quantum of damages against Pakistan over an international dispute with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

During the hearing, Attorney General for Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan, while opposing the plea, said the copy of Volume 10 could not be given to the party as the matter was sensitive.

"The Supreme Court in the July 10, 2017 order had sealed Volume 10." Sardar Latif Khosa, the counsel for the company, argued that the copy was sought by international tribunal as well as NAB, adding "if the court does not share a copy with me, then it should reject NAB's request in this regard".

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He also said NAB and Broadsheet jointly moved the application seeking volume 10.  However, NAB prosecutor Asghar Haider opposed the suggestion by saying that there was no such order to bar NAB from getting Volume 10.

The bench him asked to submit the international tribunal order regarding Volume 10. The hearing is adjourned till October 11.
The International Arbitration is hearing a claim by the Broadsheet LLC, against Pakistan and its anticorruption body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), at the London office of Allen & Overy, said the law firm representative.

Former English Court of Appeal judge Sir Anthony Evans QC heard the case as sole arbitrator in a London-seated proceeding under the rules of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

According to the Global Arbitration Review (GAR), the firm's claim against Pakistan is worth at least $600 million but a senior official told The Express Tribune that the claim is $316 million.

The International Arbitration is hearing a claim by the Broadsheet LLC, against Pakistan and its anticorruption body, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), at the London office of Allen & Overy, said the law firm representative.

Former English Court of Appeal judge Sir Anthony Evans QC heard the case as sole arbitrator in a London-seated proceeding under the rules of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

According to the Global Arbitration Review (GAR), the firm's claim against Pakistan is worth at least $600 million but a senior official told The Express Tribune that the claim is $316 million.

The Broadsheet LLC, based in the Isle of Man, was hired by NAB during Musharraf's regime to trace hidden assets of Pakistanis in foreign countries. NAB signed agreement with the Broadsheet but terminated it in 2003.

In August, 2016, the same international tribunal held that Pakistan is liable to pay damages as NAB wrongfully repudiated an asset recovery agreement with the Broadsheet and committed a tort of civil conspiracy by entering into a sham settlement with a former Broadsheet executive.

According to GAR report, the tribunal ruled that the Broadsheet was entitled to damages in an amount to be determined. The Broadsheet is represented by Stuart Newberger of Crowell & Moring in Washington, DC.

GAR reveals that in its quantum claim in the arbitration, the Broadsheet is relying in part on information gathered by a joint investigation team (JIT) established by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to examine evidence concerning the Sharif family's holdings.

The Broadsheet has submitted a forensic report by expert firm, Stroz Friedberg, analysing those parts of the JIT report that are public, while Pakistan has submitted a counter-report prepared by the FTI Consulting.

The claimant has also petitioned the Supreme Court to unseal volume 10 of the JIT report that could potentially serve as a basis for further damages claims. The apex court has scheduled a hearing on that plea on July 30.

GAR says the Broadsheet's dispute with NAB has a convoluted and colourful history. The company was established by Colorado businessman Jerry James and entered liquidation proceedings in the Isle of Man in 2005, before being dissolved and then revived.

Meanwhile, Jerry James established a Colorado company of the same name and negotiated an agreement with NAB in 2008 that purported to settle the dispute for US$2.25 million, which NAB paid. He died in 2011, reportedly by jumping from the fifth-floor balcony of a Paris hotel.

In his award on liability in 2016, the international tribunal judge Sir Anthony Evans upheld the Broadsheet's arguments that the 2008 settlement was not binding on it, as Jerry James had no authority to act on the company's behalf at the time.

He also found that NAB was liable for the tort of conspiring to cause unlawful economic loss to the Broadsheet because of its 'reckless' conduct in entering into the settlement when it knew the company's liquidator was not a party to the negotiations.

Judge Evans also upheld the Broadsheet's reading of the asset recovery agreement as entitling it to 20% of any assets recovered from the targets, regardless of whether the assets were located in Pakistan or abroad.

COMMENTS (2)

Aamir | 3 years ago | Reply We ask for help from dual national Pakistanis and give them the right to vote to select the members of parliament then why not they can become part of it?
Parvez | 3 years ago | Reply Dual nationality is the fast escape door for politicians, bureaucrats and other high government officials ........ and this is no secret.
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