SC to give Panama Leaks verdict on April 20

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Web Desk) – Supreme Court is to announce the verdict of Panama Leaks case on Thursday this week, a supplementary cause list stated on Tuesday.

The apex court is to let out whether Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is eligible to lead the nation or has earned disqualification over alleged corruption.

The Supreme Court had reserved the verdict on February 23.




Panama Papers had published a leak of documents belonging to Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm on April 4, 2016. The leak named over 400 incumbent as well as former leaders of the world who owned offshore companies which were interpreted by the commentators as means to stash wealth abroad.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family; two sons and a daughter were named in the documents which were studied by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Opposition parties in Pakistan saw the published documents as proof of alleged money laundering done by the premier. Questions over the source of money used to purchase flats in London s posh Mayfair locality by Sharif family were raised by opposition leaders.

Leader of one of the opposition parties, Imran Khan used the leak to accuse the government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz of misleading the nation and looting hard-earned money of the taxpayers.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, in leadership of Imran Khan managed to draw a consensus of opposition parties to demand the premier to resign and offer himself for accountability.

PM Nawaz addressed the nation twice, once on April 5 and April 22 to take the nation in confidence and denied corruption accusations. He offered to form a judicial commission to probe the leaks against his family which was denied by opposition parties.

Later, the Prime Minister offered to establish a parliamentary committee to form joint Terms of References to have the issue probed by the apex court.

On the floor of the House in May, PM Nawaz categorically denied the allegations and claimed that no money was stashed in foreign bank accounts by his family.

Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly, Khurshid Shah called off the protest against the government and absence of PM Nawaz in the House delaying due explanation and took him up on his offer.

Six representatives of the two sides each convened several meetings, some held at residence of Leader of the Opposition in Senate, Aitzaz Ahsan, but failed to chalk out joint Terms of References to have the premier probed by a bench of the top court.

The representatives of the government and the opposition, referred to by the media and the masses as TOR committee, never agreed on joint Terms of References.

On political front, Imran Khan and other parties were successful by then to develop an agenda for the people through across-the-country rallies and media barrage of statements that drew counter-narrative explanations.

Around the time when Imran Khan warned the government of alleged lockdown of the federal capital last year, the apex court took up the case on October 20 and condensed the petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami Muslim League against the premier.

On November 7, family of the premier filed replies in the top court and on November 14, PTI submitted  evidence  against the Sharif family.

Hearing of the case was adjourned on December 9 until first week of January 2017 over retirement of ex-Chief Justice of Pakistan, Anwar Zaheer Jamali. Revised bench comprising of Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sh. Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan resumed the hearing on January 4.

On January 10, in its remarks, the court had branded disqualification of the premier over  mere assumptions  a dangerous precedent.

Justice Ijaz had stated in another hearing on January 12 that the records which the PM had asserted to produce before the court were not filed and that the bench could not decide what was true and what was false without looking at the documents.

State institutions were remarked against by the top court on February 21 when the judges declared the authorities concerned to have failed in probing lawmakers who owned shell companies.

After a trial that ran for around four months, Supreme Court reserved the verdict on February 23. A supplementary cause list of the top court issued on April 18 reported that the verdict would be let out on April 20, some two months after it was reserved.

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