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Panamagate: JI lawyer earns the Supreme Court’s ire

Continuing his arguments before the larger bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) counsel Taufiq Asif earned the ire of the presiding judges after he made repeated references to a past case which had validated the Oct 12, 1999 military takeover of the PML-N government at the time.

It was the second instance the advocate had referred to the Zafar Ali Shah case while presenting his arguments before the five-member bench of the Supreme Court.

What followed was a repeat of what happened when Asif first brought it up: the bench had to remind the lawyer that the decision reached in the Zafar Ali Shah case did not, in fact, acknowledge Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s ownership of the London flats.

The bench also expressed anger at the counsel for bringing the argument up again, noting that he seemed insistent on referring to the case seemingly without having even read its decision.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Hassan admonished the lawyer saying he had “made a mockery of the case.”

“You have caused as much damage to your client as you possibly could,” Justice Azmat Saeed added.

The court also told the lawyer that he had not been able to establish any relationship between the references he was making and the ownership of the London flats.

As he concluded his arguments, Advocate Asif turned the court’s attention back to the Gulf Steel Mills set up in Dubai in 1974, saying he suspects the London flats were bought by selling the mills

“All the petitioners should be given the chance to cross-examine Nawaz Sharif [in this regard],” he said.

Justice Khosa told the advocate that the bench would decide on the matter after hearing the arguments of all the petitioners.

“We will call Nawaz Sharif to present himself in court if there is a need for it,” he assured.
‘Materials, not evidence’

Sheikh Ahsan Uddin, another counsel representing JI in the case, told the court that “now that all evidence has been brought forward, the court has a grave responsibility”.

“What ‘evidences’?” Justice Gulzar Ahmed retorted. “You can call them materials, not evidence,” Justice Khosa added. “What will happen if the evidences you speak of are found to be useless under the Law of Evidence?” Justice Azmat Saeed inquired.
“Gifts given to me were a token of my father’s love”

After the petitioners wound up their arguments, Maryam Nawaz’s lawyer submitted a written reply which claimed that the gifts her father had given her were a token of his paternal love.

The premier’s daughter also maintained that she was not the owner of the London flats, and that the Park Lane flats were owned by her brother, Hussain Nawaz.

She claimed that she had only accepted authority over Minerva Financial Services (the holding company that owns two other companies behind the London flats) at the request of her brother.

“Till this day, I have never visited the company, or met with any of its staff,” she claimed

However, the court rejected the document.

“The document containing Maryam Nawaz’s testimony does not have her signature on it. The testimony therefore has no importance before the law,” Justice Khosa told Shahid Hamid, who is representing the prime minister’s daughter.

The lawyer told the court that he will submit the document after getting it signed.

In his own arguments, Shahid Hamid recounted the accusations levelled against his client.

“It has been alleged that Maryam Nawaz is the dependent of her father. It has also been alleged that her husband failed to include the gifts Maryam was given in his tax returns,” he said.

When Justice Azmat inquired whether it was binding under the law that a husband declare his wife’s assets in his tax returns, the lawyer told him it was not, since Maryam Nawaz pays taxes as well.

The judges also observed that since several of the accusations levelled against Prime Minister Sharif are in relation to Maryam Nawaz, the lawyer would also have to present arguments in relation to her status as a dependent as well.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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