ISLAMABAD: After a break of 14 days, a five-judge Supreme Court bench is likely to resume the hearing of the Panama Papers leaks case on Feb 15.
The bench comprising Justices Asif Saeed Khosa, Ejaz Afzal Khan, Gulzar Ahmed, Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Ijaz-ul-Ahsan had postponed the hearing after Justice Saeed had to be rushed to the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology due to cardiac problems on Jan 31.
On Feb 1, Justice Khosa had announced that the bench would take up the case after Justice Saeed recovered from his ailment.
The hearing is likely to continue from Feb 15 to 16 and then adjourned to the next week for day-to-day proceedings.
Advocate Naeem Bokhari, representing Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan; Makhdoom Ali Khan, the counsel for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; Shahid Hamid, appearing on behalf of Maryam Safdar, her husband retired Capt Mohammad Safdar and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar; and Taufiq Asif, representing Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq, have already completed their arguments.
Advocate Salman Akram Raja, the counsel for the prime minister’s sons Hussain and Hassan Nawaz, was on his legs when the hearing had to be postponed abruptly. He is likely to complete his arguments by Feb 16 after which the counsel for the FBR and NAB — also respondents in Imran Khan’s petition — may be asked to advance their point of view.
Naeem Bokhari will take the rostrum next to rebut what had been stated by the defendants.
Makhdoom Ali Khan, who has also submitted his written arguments to rebut the JI petition, has applied for general adjournment from Feb 13 to 26. The counsel may leave for abroad on Feb 13, but since he has already completed his arguments and his associates will be present in the court to take notes, his absence may not affect the proceedings much.
Meanwhile, PTI’s spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry told Dawn that the party would wait for the arguments of Advocate Raja to conclude after which it might submit some additional documents during the rebuttal process by Naeem Bokhari. But he hastened to add that the documents would only be an extension of what had already been argued by “our counsel with an intention to reaffirm PTI’s point of view”.
Mr Chaudhry said the PTI like the nation was still waiting for the answers to key questions asked by the court during the course of hearing mainly about the source of money used to purchase the four London flats by the Sharif family, as well as whether Maryam was trustee or real beneficial owner of these properties.
“We were expecting that Advocate Raja would finally solve the mystery but he shifted the burden on the shoulders of the late Mian Sharif like the other counsel who passed the buck to Maryam and then to the (prime minister’s) two sons,” Mr Chaudhry regretted.