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Nawaz Shareef’s speech in parliament was his confession: Iftikhar Chaudhry

Former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry on Thursday said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech in the parliament on May 16, 2016, was his confession regarding the Panama Papers.

Chaudhry said this during an interview on Aaj TV’s talk show ‘Islamabad Tonight’.

When asked if the proceedings in the parliament can be debated in court, he said “the speech can be debated in the court.”

Following the revelation of Panama Papers leaks and mounting pressure from the Opposition parties, the prime minister in May last year, had presented an overview of his family business on the floor of the National Assembly. The speech, however, became controversial when the lawyer of the premier asked the apex court to set aside the contents of his speech.

“The prime minister is also a Member National Assembly (MNA), its better if he goes to the Supreme Court, if not then he should go to the parliament and clarify the contents of his earlier speech,” he said.

Also read: Panamagate hearing: case concerns Sharif’s qualifications as PM, says judge

Regarding Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution, he said, “Article 62 deals with qualification of a legislator and 63 deals with disqualification. Both are interchangeable, if one is established as a disqualified person after being elected, than he will have to face both.”

The former chief justice also said that in the current scenario, there is no need of a commission to decide on the Panama Papers issue.

“In my opinion, the court will decide the case,” he added.

When asked if the prime minister needs to produce evidence in favour of his denial to the allegations arrayed against him, the former top judge said, “Apart from technical issues of onus of responsibility, it is a case of the prime minister. In this case, the PM holds the onus of responsibility for proving his innocence.”

“PTI has done its work, now its turn of the premier to come up with proofs supporting his claims,” he added. He, however, said the case could have been presented in a better manner.

“The offshore companies were established when the children of the prime minister were not competent enough to establish the firms. So the premier was responsible for his children as they were dependent on him.”

When inquired about the similarities in the cases of Sharif and former premier Yousaf Raza Gillani, he said that the cases of Panama Papers and Gillani are different.

“The case of Yousaf Raza Gillani was a bit different as he was convicted by a seven-member bench of apex court.”

“As the premier has not been convicted as yet and if the court declares him not Sadiq and Ameen, then a reference would be filed for his disqualification,” he added.

Talking about the letter reportedly written by a prince of Qatar, he said the “Qatari letter does not qualify to the standard of Qanoon-i-Shahadat order,” adding that the letter was a result of after thoughts.

Courtesy : Dawn News



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