ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday declared that it would dispense justice in accordance with the law and Constitution, not based on the perceptions or expectations of any one party.
Asking the court to dispense “true justice”, especially when parties in Pakistan were polarised along political lines, was a very slippery slope, explained Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who is heading the five-judge bench hearing the Panama Papers leaks case.
Political parties accepted only those verdicts that suited them and rejected the ones that went against them, the judge observed, adding the Constitution was very clear on the jurisdiction of the court, which ordained it to do justice in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
The observation came when Awami Muslim League president Sheikh Rashid Ahmed expressed confidence that the court would dispense “true justice”.
Sheikh Rashid maintains PM breached public trust; PM’s counsel refutes prayers ‘abandoned’ by PTI legal team
Sheikh Rashid also asked the court to summon Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, because he was not above the second caliph, Hazrat Umar — who during a Friday sermon was questioned by an ordinary subject about the source of the clothes he was wearing.
Summoning the prime minister will help resolve the controversy around his children Maryam and Hussain over the question of who is the trustee or beneficial owner of the four London flats.
Sheikh Rashid also cited a number of Supreme Court cases where some politicians were disqualified because they were not honest, either for possessing fake educational degrees or holding dual nationality.
He asked the court to consider his petition in the light of a number of fundamental rights of the people which he believed had been breached through the alleged misdeeds of the prime minister, who was the supreme commander of the armed forces of a nuclear-powered country.
The alleged wrongdoings of the ruling family had become a laughing stock and people were yearning for honest and clean leadership, he said.
In his arguments, Sheikh Rashid also referred to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was impeached for breaking budgetary laws; and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose house was raided and who was questioned for receiving gifts from an American billionaire.
The matter at hand, Sheikh Rashid emphasised, was a case where all state institutions had failed the nation — a situation that tempted adventurism.
Using his usual acerbic wit, Sheikh Rashid described the Qatari letter as “no evidence, rather hearsay”, saying that it was a kind of Rescue 1122, furnished by the children of the prime minister in their defence.
Later, the PM’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan opened his arguments by attacking the pleas seeking the disqualification of the prime minister.
The PTI demand to recover plundered money from the safe havens of the British Virgin Islands was oversimplified, akin to the petition by the Jamaat-i-Islami, which asked for the appointment of a commission to try all those whose name surfaced in the Panama Papers, he argued.
It seemed the petitioner wanted accountability for everyone under the sun, the counsel argued, adding the next prayer seeking a declaration against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman to discharge his functions and investigate all those involved in the corruption scandal was not restricted to the prime minister.
None of the respondents in the pending mega-corruption case were parties before the Supreme Court in the current case and without naming those who looted money, a generalised relief was being sought, the counsel argued.
Referring to the prayer that the interior secretary be asked to place the prime minister’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL), the counsel argued that during the past few days, he had not heard a single argument on this subject. “Shall it be considered that the PTI has abandoned this prayer?” the counsel asked.
Similarly, the petitioner had asked for directions to the interior secretary and the NAB chairman to initiate claims on behalf of the government for the recovery of the properties, but it was not specified which property. He then hastened to ask whether they meant the Avenfield properties in London.
“I am also not clear which respondent — whether the prime minister or other members of the Sharif family — are being addressed when the petitioner asks for an order requiring the FBR to probe and minutely scrutinise their income tax returns and asset declarations.
They have referred to Shahbaz Sharif, Rabia Sharif, Abbas Sharif, their nephew Tariq Shafi and said that the entire family was like a conglomerate. They want a declaration against members of the Sharif family who were not made respondents in the Al-Tawfeek case.
If they were to be made respondents, then notices must be issued to them, the counsel said, adding that they wanted to put the entire burden on this court and expected that the court would do all the work they should have done.
However, Justice Gulzar Ahmed clarified that, for the time being, the court was not making them respondents.