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Wait’s over: Panamagate verdict tomorrow

Updated Apr 19, 2017 03:24pm


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ISLAMABAD: Fingers are crossed and speculation is rife after the Supreme Court on Tuesday revealed that it would hand down an anxiously awaited verdict in the Panama Papers case tomorrow (Thursday).

The judgement will be announced by a five-member larger bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, in the Courtroom No. 1 at 2pm, though the hearing was mainly held in the relatively smaller Courtroom No. 2.

The publication of the supplementary cause list brought to an end the gossip and theorising that had dominated discussion across the country for the past several weeks.

Editorial: Panama Papers: the larger picture

Observers feel that the verdict may run into hundreds of pages, with additional notes by a number of judges and, possibly, one or two dissenting opinions.

But no one is certain whether it will be a unanimous judgement, with most practitioners saying it’s very difficult to guess what dimension of the case the bench will consider.

However, legal experts are of the view that certain adverse observations and directions may be in store for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for their inaction over the Panama Papers leaks.

One heartening aspect is the resolve, expressed by every party involved in the Panamagate hearing, to accept and respect the decision of the court, no matter who it favours.

The bench had reserved its ruling on Feb 23, following marathon hearings into the Panama Papers scandal, with the observation that their judgement would remain relevant and valid for at least 20 years.

Essentially, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq and Awami Muslim League head Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had petitioned the Supreme Court to disqualify Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for making alleged mis-statements in his speech in the National Assembly on May 16 and in his address to the nation on April 5 last year, regarding investments made by his children in offshore companies that led to the purchase of four upscale flats in London.

Soon after the SC announcement, Mr Khan convened an emergency meeting of party leaders at his Islamabad residence on Wednesday to discuss the possible outcomes. All central leaders have been asked to ensure their presence in the meeting.

“Finally, the anxiety has come to an end. The entire nation, including all political parties, has gone through a testing time over the past two months and has been awaiting this day,” senior PTI leader Ishaq Khakwani told Dawn.

“This is a defining moment for Pakistan,” Mr Khakwani said. Whatever the judgement says, it will definitely open up new avenues, whether it is in favour of his party or not.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurengzeb told reporters that the Supreme Court decision would be in accordance with the law and Constitution, adding that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government believed in the dignity and honour of constitutional institutions.

She said the impending decision would lay to rest all rumour-mongering and speculation, adding that those levelling false accusations would get nothing.

She recalled that the prime minister offered himself up for accountability, even though the Panama Papers did not mention his name. He wrote to the Supreme Court to form a judicial commission and, when the proceedings finally began, he presented the account details of three generations, including his late father, Mian Mohammad Sharif.

Sheikh Rashid said in a television programme on Tuesday that he would accept whatever decision came, adding that the thrust of his arguments before the court revolved around articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, which lists the disqualification criteria for members of parliament.

Meanwhile, special security measures have been taken to ensure proper decorum and the smooth functioning of the Supreme Court on April 20.

In view of the limited seating capacity in Courtroom No. 1, entry will be regulated through special security passes, to be issued by the Supreme Court. Only petitioners and respondents whose cases are fixed in the court will be allowed to enter the premises, though the advocates and journalists who regularly come to court will be exempt from obtaining security passes.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2017


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Comments (53) Closed

Amer RAo Apr 19, 2017 07:51am

Good Luck Pakistan!

Pakistan Apr 19, 2017 08:00am

Nawaz and co should give our money back too. Its not about removing him.

nadir baloach Apr 19, 2017 08:46am

Every one hoping it must be against PM Nawaz.

Hassan Apr 19, 2017 08:54am

PTI will not get what they want, and PML will not bail out easily tho. In my opinion, the judgement will not a win or loose for both parties, PM will continue, so as his other associates that were name in Panama Papers but with some harsh word of cautions, warnings, further actions etc etc from judges. Whereas IK will not get his desire wish of disqualification, but I appreciate his effort to bring current ruler into court and made nation confident that any ruler can be held accountable and can take to court if they continue to carry on wrong doings. Best of luck IK for your honest work you did for future generation.

The Observer Apr 19, 2017 09:13am

Justice should prevail.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Apr 19, 2017 09:30am

Praying for justice against corruption. Nawaz and Zardari first and than rest. Lets go! No more, no more, no looting of public wealth. Pakistan is a wealthy country both present and Indus valley rich past, only this mismanagement needs to end and wealth needs to be shared with her people. These substandard folks so call leaders whose net worth has crossed into billions of dollar have done enough damage to this sacred land.

Love you Pakistan, so, so much my Indus Valley.

shampee Apr 19, 2017 09:31am

We should not say "favor to any political party", It must favor Pakistani citizens, and overall Pakistan should be benefited, Lets pray.

SAjjad Apr 19, 2017 09:35am

Defining Moment is here at last.. Hope Justice prevails and bring end to corrupt leaders

Asad Apr 19, 2017 09:46am

He's going for sure.

Mohd shafiq Apr 19, 2017 09:48am

N.s . will be set free. Outcome is known

farhan Apr 19, 2017 10:18am

Eager to watch the results.

F Khan Apr 19, 2017 10:19am

I doubt IK will accept a verdict which goes against him, if it does.

Zain Apr 19, 2017 10:19am

It will be a major letdown.

Amir khan Apr 19, 2017 10:26am

Given the history of our legal fraternity, the verdict of not guilty is highly likely.

Saf Zulfiqar Apr 19, 2017 10:55am

Hope the looters will get maximum punishments.

my Comments Apr 19, 2017 10:59am

Institutional reform across the board is the only way to improve the system for benefiting general public. Changing one or two high officials would not make much difference.

Nitin Apr 19, 2017 11:21am

Great news for the nation of Pakistan. Hope everyone excepts the outcome. My personal opinion is that Nawaz 's children would be convicted while he would be let off .

Ghafoor Apr 19, 2017 12:10pm

I think Imran Khan will lose this case badly.

Sheraz ali Apr 19, 2017 12:28pm

NS should announce early election for the sake of Pakistan.

saira Apr 19, 2017 12:37pm

We want to see any decision against powerful mafia in Pakistan. I am hopeful this time! And yes your right Pakistan. We want our money back!!!

IAB Apr 19, 2017 12:39pm

Historic or not , the losing side will not accept the verdict ...... whether PMLN or PTI , JI.

Falcon1 Apr 19, 2017 12:40pm

Moment of Truth. Or do or die moment for PML-N??

Nothing lasts forever in this world.

TN Apr 19, 2017 12:54pm

Too late - we should learn how timely courts acted in US and South Korea against their presidents

Jalbani Baloch Apr 19, 2017 01:21pm

Rebuilding of new Pakistan, as championed by Imran Khan, will get a new momentum with the delivery of Supreme Court judgment on 20 April 2017.

abubakar Apr 19, 2017 01:28pm

Best of luck Ik. Long Live Pakistan

Nahrad Muni Apr 19, 2017 01:41pm

There will only be a warning message to Nawaz. Nothing else..

JKhan Apr 19, 2017 01:57pm

@Hassan join politics Mister. You are tailor made for our national politics.

Skeptic Apr 19, 2017 01:59pm

Real Justice may be difficult, not necessarily impossible. But in this case - considering what is involved, we should only pray for a Miracle.

Something tells me we didn't pray hard enough.

ABE Apr 19, 2017 02:15pm

@Nitin - Your logic is completely backwards. Children wouldn't be sitting on billions if daddy hadn't facilitate the transfers and hoarding of the wealth abroad - when they were school kids.

sherryaar Apr 19, 2017 02:22pm

@Zain agree with u on this one... if he is not disqualified then its as good as clean chit !!

IAB Apr 19, 2017 02:27pm

It is how the losing side acts after the verdict that will determine the future of politics in Pakistan ...........

Mahmood Apr 19, 2017 02:45pm

@Ghafoor -At least you can 'think' only. Imran Khan at least, took some action, instead of just making speeches and whining.

KHALID YOUSAFZAI (UK) Apr 19, 2017 03:10pm

whatever the outcome is -- Leader/Politicians PLEASE RETURN the looted money to my innocent and poor lovely country. I am feeling proud today.

Muslim Medina Apr 19, 2017 03:18pm

@Mohd shafiq : Agree with you.

Bilal khan Apr 19, 2017 03:20pm

Thank you IMRAN KHAN!!!!

Sarah Apr 19, 2017 03:22pm

Now or Never !

Shazad Apr 19, 2017 03:28pm

Someone have to stop corruption, nepotism and mismanagement from Pakistan. Either courts and other national institutions ...

A.M. Khawar Apr 19, 2017 03:45pm

History provides consistence evidence that the societies live and die based on the strengths and weaknesses of their institutions. As the Supreme Court announces its Panama gate verdict on April 20, the best service to the nation would be, for all political and religious parties, to accept the Apex Court’s decision as is, with all its implications. National interests must outweigh the individual leadership interests. This will go a long way to reinforce the Supreme Court’s role as the final arbitrator of the major issues facing the nation. Strong institutions are the only guarantee for the consistent and persistent evolution of the society towards higher plateaus of national existence and progress.

Sami Ullah Swati Apr 19, 2017 03:53pm

The process pushed by IK through peaceful protests to bring the accused to face justices is a milestone in itself. Unheard of such actions in the Past and I hope the court sets out a preceedence where corruption allegation at any level can be dealt within the real of rules. This way politicians as well will stop stereotyping their immunity to "munching upon steel pulses". THis attitude should stop as well corruption by politicians.

Tango Apr 19, 2017 04:15pm

With all institutions including FIA and NAB at his back ,opposition was not able to bring forth any substantial evidence on the basis of which court can remover PM. Yet PM also was not able to justify his innocence except some letters from qatari Prince. Although corruption of PM is so evident ,however , proof of the same are not enough to remove him from office . I bet for decision in favour of ruling party . Afsoos.

Concerned Pakistani Apr 19, 2017 04:17pm

Whatever the decision will come but the focus has been shifted to Nawaz Sharif only. There are other names of civil and military establishment also but nobody is asking anything from them. They will go scot free.

M. Siddique Apr 19, 2017 04:40pm

How the money will be recovered and brought back to Pakistan?

tariq Apr 19, 2017 04:41pm

@Hassan You a legal expert? Man with a sixth sense? or simply P-MLN apologist? Let me guess...Answer to be revealed tomorrow!!

KHALID YOUSAFZAI (UK) Apr 19, 2017 04:42pm

cannot wait for less than 20 hours to go..... God will show his justice tomorrow inshallah

Jamil Soomro, NEW YORK CITY Apr 19, 2017 04:46pm

Patience of Pakistani Nation must be praised for having waited so long.They will soon witness the greatness of the Pakistan Supreme Court.

sajed syed Apr 19, 2017 05:37pm

Pakistan Zindabad. This is what we shall be saying tomorrow.

ahaq Apr 19, 2017 05:50pm

My guess is that Maryam and Safdar will be implicated and Sharif sons and the family will be banned from future participation in Pakistan politics.

LIfe Apr 19, 2017 06:38pm

I do not suspect PM NS will get any verdict as he was not the main accused. His children might get a slap on the wrist but since as per norm the burden of proof is not on defendent therefore I do not think the verdict will challenge the current regime. The court will however recommend the corrective measures and independence of regulators and giving teeth to them so that future doors of corruption can somehow be closed.

khanm Apr 19, 2017 06:49pm

The courtroom is one instance of the fact that while our society may be liberal and democratic in some large and vague sense, its moving parts, its smaller chambers--its classrooms, its workplaces, its corporate boardrooms, its jails, its military barracks--are flagrantly undemocratic, dominated by one commanding person or a tiny elite of power.

Ali Apr 19, 2017 06:56pm

The Supreme Court decision should be landmark decision to rid the country of corrupt politicians. For too long they have been involved in taking commissions, bhatta, land grabbing, kidnappings, money laundering and even killings. That was criminal.

These politicians have expensive properties in London. They have billions in Swiss banks. In any other democracy such politicians would be in jail. The people of Pakistan demand 'accountability' as no politician or his family can be above the law.

Shiraz Apr 19, 2017 08:20pm

@Pakistan - I thought I will write this, but you are at number one, thanks.

desi Apr 19, 2017 08:20pm

Everyone is expecting the decision will be against Nawaz Sharif, but what if he is found innocent. What is the nation going to do? Are we ready to move on from Panama gate and let Nawaz Sharif continue his term? Is there an exit strategy if decision favors Nawaz Sharif?

desi Apr 19, 2017 08:28pm

This will be the decision: Nawaz Sharif will be found innocent since there is not enough proof against him and he will continue to be the PM. His children will be barred from holding any political position or in the government since they APPEAR to be involved in corruption but there is not enough proof beyond reasonable doubt, so they no charges will be brought against them either. Finally life goes on, PM's children will fly out of the country and live like kings and queens. PM will finish his term, hoard more money and will join his kids after finishing his term and handing the power to Zardari. The cycle of corruption will continue, just the name on the top will change. I hope I am wrong, but this is a likely decision.