Karachi (July 28, 2017): The biggest ever judgment in Pakistan’s judicial history is just two-and-half hours away. The judgment would be read by Justice Saeed Khosa who is heading the five-remember larger bench of Supreme Court (SC).
Justice Gular Ahmed, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed are other members of the bench.
The case involves hearing of various petitions including that primary petition of chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) Imran Khan as well as chief of Awami Muslim League Shaikh Rasheed and Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Sirajul Haq. The petition seeks disqualification of Priem Minister Nawaz Sharif over the disclosures made in Panama Papers that named prime ministers children owning offshore companies.
The following is a brief dateline of the case which is about set a precedent and make history:
April 20, 2017: The five-member larger bench of the Supreme announced a split verdict in the Panamagate case that called for the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Two judges of the five-member apex bench, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed, rule against PM Nawaz Sharif, saying he should be disqualified as he cannot be considered ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’. Three judges of the bench stop short of disqualification, however, instead ordering the prime minister and his children to face further investigation by a specially constituted six-man joint investigation team (JIT). Representatives from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) are empowered to question the prime minister and his family members.
April 26, 2017: SC received names of officials for Panama Papers JIT. The court had directed the departments concerned to furnish three names each, from which one each would be picked by the Supreme Court to form a six-man JIT.
May 2, 2017: The court announced a three-judge bench to implement its judgment in the Panama Papers case. The bench consists of the same judges who handed down the majority verdict in the Panama Papers case: Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan.
May 3, 2017: The court expressed dissatisfaction with the representatives suggested by SBP and SECP. “We expect people with integrity,” rebuked Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan. SC asks acting SBP Governor Riaz Riazuddin and SECP chairman Mohammad Zafar Hijazi to appear before it on May 5 with a complete list of officers in grade 18 or above in their respective departments.
May 5, 2017: The bench forms Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe PM’s assets. It appointed Additional Director General of Federal Investigation Agency Wajid Zia, a grade 21 officer, as head of the probe team. The JIT comprised of Amer Aziz of the State Bank of Pakistan, Executive Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Bilal Rasool, National Accountability Bureau Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, Brig Muhammad Nauman Saeed of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Brig Kamran Khurshid of the Military Intelligence.
May 9, 2017: JIT begins inquiry into Sharifs’ assets. The JIT visits the Federal Judicial Academy — the premises selected by the apex court for the team — for an orientation. The members examine security arrangements as well as the facilities being provided to the team under the May 4 Supreme Court order. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf demands that the inquiry into the assets of the Sharif family not be held in camera.
July 10, 2017: The Panama JIT submitted its report to the special implementation bench. After a two-month long probe into allegations against the Sharif family, the JIT submits its final report to the SC. Large cardboard boxes labelled ‘Evidence’ are carted into the SC as the JIT members, arriving at the SC amid heavy security, make their way into court. The SC also asks for transcripts of all speeches made in the last 60 days by PML-N’s Talal Chaudhry, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, and the PM’s Special Assistant on Political Affairs Asif Kirmani, presumably to examine them for contemptuous content. The apex court further orders the registration of a criminal case against the SECP chairman in order to find out who was behind tampering the records of businesses owned by the Sharif family. The bench also orders that the name and institution of the individual responsible for leaking a photo of Hussain Nawaz sitting before the JIT should be made public.
July 21, 2017: The court reserved the decision.
July 28, 2017: The five-member larger bench of the case headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa announced the judgment.