LAHORE: A five-member bench of Lahore High Court on Friday dismissed a 24-year-old petition accusing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of laundering money by declaring it non maintainable.
Justice Farrukh Irfan Khan was heading the bench. Other members of the bench included Justices Muhammad Qasim, Ayesha A Malik, Faisal Zaman and Mirza Waqas Raoof.
Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafri, the petitioner’s counsel, said all decisions in an Islamic state were made in accordance with Islam and the question of maintainability did not arise. At this, Justice Khan said courts take up matters in accordance with the law and if he had nothing to maintain than how could the court hear his petition.
Jafri said Sharif had already filed an affidavit in this petition and he should be allowed to cross examine him. He objected to the appearance of a law officer asking why he was defending the prime minister in person being a representative of the state.
The petition had been filed by Barrister Jafri in 1991. He had accused Sharif of laundering public money abroad. Jafri had requested the court to look into the matter and recover the money. He also asked the court to bar the prime minister from contesting elections.
On October 21, 2014, a division bench headed by Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah had referred the case to the chief justice regarding the constitution of a larger bench to hear it.
The larger bench could not be constituted and was fixed before a single bench of Justice Malik who referred the case back to the registrar’s office for fixing it before a larger bench again.
The petitioner had alleged that Sharif had stashed public money abroad and was involved in horse trading. “He is ineligible to contest the elections,” Jafri had argued.
He said that the main petition against the money laundering had been filed in 1991 and a larger bench was constituted but case had been heard only once. Jafri told the bench that the fate of the petition had not been decided since then. The division bench had declined to hear the case and referred it to the chief justice requesting him to constitute a larger bench.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2015.
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