Nawaz seeks reversal of Panama case verdict

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Addresses all Pakistan lawyers convention
Salim Ahmed

Lahore

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday said that he is waging a just struggle for protecting the sanctity of votes and restoring the people’s mandate while what he called “a wrong decision that was given on wrong basis should be overturned.”
While addressing an All Pakistan Lawyers’ Convention at Aiwan-e-Iqbal, Nawaz said the PML-N has decided to form a committee comprising representatives of lawyers, civil society, traders, labourers, farmers, teachers and other strata of society to launch grand dialogue for finding reasons of not respecting public mandate and making recommendations for ensuring respect of public mandate.
Nawaz said, “During the country’s 70 years history, four dictators ruled for 23 years while 18 Prime Ministers were not allowed to complete their term in public office. We need to find out reasons of not respecting the public mandate and stop the process for the sake of the country.”
Nawaz maintained that he was not fighting his own case but that of Pakistan in the court of the masses. “Some of judiciary’s decisions are implemented but never accepted by the people,” he said, adding: “The entire premise is that this decision, based on false premise, be taken back.”
He said though he resigned immediately following the landmark Supreme Court judgment, but this does not mean he accepted it whole heartedly.
Terming the verdict in his case as public property, Nawaz said it will be debated upon. He added that he is not dejected about the personal impact of the verdict but for the negative impact it had on the country’s development. “I’ve been fighting the case of the people and democracy,” he said.
Nawaz recalled that he had presented himself for an investigation by the courts as soon as the Panama Papers were leaked in 2016, even though his name “was not in the papers.”
“No one responded to my offer [to present myself for accountability] for several months. And then they came up with a number of justifications for prolonging this process,” he said.
Nawaz maintained that one verdict was given on April 20; the other was given on July 28. “I am not concerned about the effect the verdict will have on me. I care about the precedent that will be set in the country,” he said, adding: “The verdict will remembered as unjust, as judgments like these have negative effects on the justice system.”
Sharing his vies about Panama case, Nawaz said, “You all are aware of the Panama story; my name wasn’t present in the list. You all know I volunteered for a commission led by a respectable Supreme Court judge when the leaks occurred. One decision came on April 20 and another on July 28. But a few questions still remain.”
Listing the 12 ‘questions’, the former premier asked (1) If Whats App calls ever been used to nominate people for such an investigation, (2) has the Supreme Court ever made a joint investigation team (JIT) for such a case, (3) do secret agencies work beyond terrorism and national security, (4) has a 3-member bench of apex court ever supervised the work of a JIT, (5) did any petitioner approach the apex court regarding the Dubai company and my salary issue, (6) has any court relied on a dictionary to get meaning of words as per their choice, (7) has in our 70-year history, it ever happened that four verdicts come out in one case, (8) can those two judges be included in another bench who have already made their decision, (9) can those judges base their decision on a JIT report who did not oversee the JIT hearings, (10) has a monitoring judge ever been nominated to give verdict against someone in the entire judicial history, (11) Is this matter is according to the independence of judiciary; and (12) can a monitoring judge be appointed over NAB?
Nawaz said the legal fraternity members know better about these questions and they had raised these points in their review petition moved in the Supreme Court.
Nawaz maintained that those who violated the Constitution continued to rule the country for decades. “No dictator has ever been punished for breaching the Constitution,” he said.
He further said that when the petitions were filed they were termed frivolous by the apex court. He also said the Constitution provides right of fair trial and due process of law to every citizen.
He added that under the NAB Ordinance there is a complete procedure ranging from lodging of complaint, certification, inquiry and investigation with right of appeal at every stage but in their case, this process is not being observed. “Justice should not only be done but it must be seen to be done,” he said.
Recalling the rule of dictators and dismissal of civilian governments in the country’s chequered political history, he asked what his crime was, and then answered: That I didn’t take a salary from my son’s company. “The support of people has given me strength and hope. They’ve shown me their decision. I have seen anger in their eyes,” he said, recalling his GT Road Rally from Islamabad to Lahore.
In the past, Nawaz said “our courts had been condoning the rule of dictators and allowing changes to the Constitution. Some judges violated their oath and supported dictators. No dictator has been punished for abrogating the Constitution.”
He said, “We need to establish sanctity of ballot box. I have been fighting for Pakistan’s democracy and the case of its people in the courts.”
Nawaz also lauded the members of the legal fraternity for their struggle against dictatorship. He r recalled that “in the movement [against Pervez Musharraf], lawyers had been at the forefront.”He said Allama Iqbal, a lawyer, presented Pakistan’s vision. The founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah was also a lawyer.
Punjab Governor Rafique Rajwana, Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Punjab Minister Rana Mashood Khan, Senatot Pervez Rasheed, Senator Asif Kirmani were present. Lawyers representatives including Mian Israr ul Haq, Azam Nazir Tarar, Mian Ikram ul Haq, and others spokes on the occasion and highlighted services of Nawaz Sharif. On the occasion, lawyers chanted slogans in favour of Nawaz Sharif.

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