SC rejects Hussain Nawaz’s plea

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the petition of Hussain Nawaz in the picture leak controversy, which was reserved June 14, just a day ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appearance before the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the Panama Papers case.

The petition sought stoppage of video recording of Panama Papers case JIT proceedings.

A three-member special implementation bench of the apex court headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan heard the case filed by Hussain Nawaz.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan read out the verdict. It said the JIT can record the proceedings but cannot use them as evidence.

During the course of proceedings, Advocate Khawaja Haris Ahmad, counsel for Hussain Nawaz, appeared before the bench and said that video recording of JIT proceedings should not be allowed. He alleged that the JIT had no control over CCTV cameras.

Khawaja Haris expressed concern over leaking of his client’s picture and apprehended that a video could also be leaked. “What was the guarantee that a video would not be leaked?” he asked.

Justice Ijaz-ul-Hassan warned to not make the case ‘media circus’ and also asked the government spokesman to talk carefully. He said, “The court doesn’t want to hide judicial proceeding as it is not afraid of anyone.”

He remarked that, “Video recording was done for maintaining accurate transcripts. The facts of the case could not be affected by the procedure and nature of statements also did not change because of it.”

Justice Azmat Saeed observed that, “The proceedings’ recordings would help the petitioner more than it could hurt him.” He asked the attorney-general if he had read the JIT’s report submitted in the court on Monday. The attorney-general replied that he had not read it so far.

Justice Azmat Saeed said, “The government publishes article in its favor. We are not immature that we cannot understand anything.” The bench directed the attorney-general to examine the JIT report and submit his response on Thursday.

Allowing the probe body to continue audio/video recordings, the three-judge implementation bench said the person who leaked Hussain Nawaz’s photo had already been identified. They, however, stated that since JIT proceedings cannot be made public, they cannot declare the name of the culprit.

The judges also called out the alleged role that the media is playing against the judiciary. Justice Khan said that state institutions, instead of appearing before the court, resort to press conferences and get articles published in their favour.

Justice Ahsan said, “The case should not be turned into a media trial, adding that after reading the newspapers, we do not feel the need to hear the attorney-general.”

Talking to media outside the court, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry said, “The government is trying to affect JIT proceeding with such tactics. PTI will protect both democracy and system as it has always struggled for civil supremacy.”

“A campaign was initiated against judiciary on the leakage of Hussain Nawaz’s picture but PTI will not let anyone to derail the system,” he added.

Originally Published By NNI