ISLAMABAD: As the opposition our job is to make accusations and it is up to the government to prove us wrong, said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday.

“We bagged more than 80 million votes and it is our duty to make accusations whenever public money is stolen,” he added.

He made these remarks during the first hearing of the Panamagate case after a new bench was constituted.

During the hearing, the Supreme Court barred the government and the PTI from holding media talks on the Panamagate case on the court premises.

Although both sides agreed to abide by the court’s directions, party leaders and officials spoke to the press right after the case’s first hearing with the new bench — some on the premises of the court while others were held at a slight distance.

Court orders

During the hearing, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said: “We have issued directives that there will be no press talks on the premises of the Supreme Court.”

He added that they did not want to impose any restrictions but people should respect and honour the apex court’s premises.

Justice Khosa assured journalists that the apex court did not want to impose any legal or constitutional embargo on press conferences. He said “discuss court proceedings in the media but don’t base them on observations and queries of judges by taking their names and flashing their photographs in the media.”

PML-N claims PTI chief has no evidence against PM and his family regarding Panamagate

He explained that judges of the apex court had raised questions from different angles to extract maximum information and this did not mean that they had accepted the point of view of any party.

Justice Khosa added that “there will be no value of this institution if it has no respect”.

The PTI chairman said that his party leaders would obey the instructions of the apex court, adding that they were forced to hold press conferences to negate the government’s “propaganda”.

PTI lawyer Naeem Bokhari assured the court that he would follow the apex court’s instructions. “Since the hearing of the Panamagate case started I have refused to appear in the media,” he said.

Awami Muslim League (AML) president Sheikh Rashid Ahmed intervened and said the Panamagate case was a historic case and millions of people wanted to see their leaders live on television every day.

Responding to this, Justice Khosa said: “You may indulge in runaway imagination but don’t drag the judges into it.”

Another judge of the apex court, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, said that observations of the judges’ were always tentative in nature. “Do not present these observations as sweeping statements,” he said.

Justice Khosa said: “Do not make judges’ observations subject matter in your TV shows and discussions. Judges do not get influenced.”

Shahid Hamid, lawyer for Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, said that it had been decided in the rigging case that no press conferences would be held inside the premises of the Supreme Court. Talking to the media after the hearing, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said the PTI chief admitted before the apex court that he had no evidence against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family in the Panama Papers case.

“Now the nation can understand that what kind of politics is being done by the PTI and its leaders,” she said.

The minister for capital administration development division, Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, held a press conference within the apex court’s premises and said that the PML-N had confidence in its leadership.

PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry said the PTI had failed to prove that Maryam Nawaz was a dependant of the prime minister. “She married in 1992 and since then she has been dependent on her husband,” he added.

PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his party would come up with more evidence to challenge the authenticity of a letter from Qatar’s former Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani presented by the government to prove the prime minister’s innocence.

PTI spokesman Fawwad Chaudhry claimed the government had lost the Panamagate case in the Supreme Court.

“Now the PML-N should start searching for a new prime minister instead of changing their lawyer,” he said.

Standing close to the apex court’s stairs, AML President Sheikh Rashid said that he had full confidence in the judiciary. “Political coffins will be taken out of here [Supreme Court].”

Mr Qureshi, in an interview on a talk show said, that despite the court’s directives to political parties and media, Mr Chaudhry should have restrained himself from passing such remarks.

Published in Dawn January 5th, 2017



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