Nawaz Sharif files 3 petitions against Panamagate verdict in SC
Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday filed three separate petitions in the Supreme Court to review and stay further implementation of the Panamagate verdict that resulted in his disqualification.
The appeal, in reply to the petition filed by Sirajul Haq, was submitted by Nawaz's lawyer Khawaja Harris. The five-member apex bench that took the unanimous July 28 decision last month is expected to hear the review petition.
One of the three applications has called for the court to stay further implementation of the Panamagate judgement until a decision on the above mentioned review petition is taken.
Harris, along with the review petition, has submitted relevant documents concerning the iqama — a United Arab Emirates work visa — that led the judges to declare Nawaz "unfit to hold office".
Nawaz, through his appeal, has argued that the July 28 decision should have been given by a three-member bench since Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed's jurisdiction had expired after their dissenting judgement on April 20.
"By signing the the final order of the court" on July 28, Justice Ahmed and Justice Khosa "have actually passed two judgements in the same case, which is unprecedented in judicial history," reads the review petition, a copy of which is available with Dawn.
"On the face of the record, there are four final judgements passed in this case; the first of these final judgements being the minority judgement dated 20.04.2017 of the two members of the originally constituted 5-member bench, the second being the majority judgement dated 20.04.2017 passed by the 3-member bench, the third judgement [...] dated 28.07.2017 again passed by the 3-member bench of this court, and the fourth being the Final Order of the Court dated 28.07.2017 passed by the originally constituted 5-member bench," says the review appeal.
"The commendations and appreciations" of the joint investigation team (JIT) and their subordinate staff is "a gross transgression" of Nawaz's fundamental right to a fair trial, the review petition argues, calling for paragraph six of the final judgement to be expunged.
The appeal alleges that the members of the JIT considerably overstepped authority and that the bench of the SC assumed National Accountability Bureau's function by directing it.
The appeal also says that the non-disclosure of iqama in nomination papers for 2013 elections, which became the grounds for his disqualification, was not included in any of the petitions against Nawaz, therefore, the bench did not have any authority to rule over it.
Nawaz, through the appeal, also contested the definitions of the terms "receivable", "asset" and "salary" used by the bench in July 28 decision.
Five more petitions are expected to be filed soon by Nawaz's sons — Hassan and Hussain Nawaz; his daughter Maryam Nawaz; Captain Safdar; and Ishaq Dar.
'Still my PM'
Earlier on Tuesday, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said that he still considers Nawaz Sharif his prime minister, and that the entire country was waiting to welcome the former premier.
"In my heart, he [Sharif] is still the prime minister," declared Sadiq while speaking to reporters after attending a meeting of top PML-N leadership in Raiwind.
The meeting, chaired by Sharif, was also attended by Hamza Shahbaz, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, among others.
"Nawaz Sharif talked about his future strategy. He does not plan to create any friction between the institutions but he will fight for his right by taking his case to the public and protect the sanctity of their vote," the speaker told the reporters.
"The meeting also discussed ways to strengthen the Parliament and democracy; we talked about what legislation needs to be passed, by taking all political parties on board, in order to protect the sanctity of the votes cast by the public."
"Nawaz Sharif is the country's most popular leader. The masses love him and a sea of people came out [on streets] to show him their love and to show that they stand with him," Senator Asif Kirmani said after the meeting.
He attempted to dispel the impression that the PML-N had challenged the courts and said that they respect the courts. Nawaz "mentioned a conspiracy but he will elaborate on it when the time comes," Kirmani said.
He added that the reorganisation of the party had been the focus of Tuesday's meeting, while a decision on the new president of PML-N still pending.
Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique stated that the party was planning to incorporate youth "especially after we saw their enthusiasm at homecoming rally".
He also said that the PML-N is looking to amend laws to make it easier provide easy and cheap justice to public. "Whatever happened with us [PML-N] should not happen again and we need to amend the constitution to ensure that," Rafique said.