PML-N leaders dejected over dismissal of Panama petitions by SC

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ISLAMABAD Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and federal railways minister, Khawaja Saad Rafique said on Friday that the government had an idea of today’s decision of the Supreme Court but they still decided to go for a review.

Addressing the media in Islamabad, he said the PML-N is the country’s biggest and mature political party which does not wish to seek a clash among state institutions.

Referring to the recent bench-bar row in Multan, he said the government protected the judiciary after the agitation from lawyers, which is its duty.

“We don’t want anyone to repeat their mistakes, including us,” he said, adding that in an atmosphere where a US president makes such dangerous remarks the country needs to stand united.

He requested political workers of all parties to consider Sunday’s by-election in NA-120 as just an ‘election’ and nothing more. “We need to tolerate each other with patience and just let the people decide on,” he suggested.

Rafiq said no one can oust former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from the political scene of Pakistan.

Rafique, a veteran PML-N worker and MNA from Lahore, congratulated Maryam Nawaz for running a successful campaign for mother Kulsoom, the party’s candidate in NA-120.

Meanwhile, State Interior Minister Talal Chaudhry said the Supreme Court did not evaluate the pleas against the Panama Papers case judgment.

In TV interviews soon after the court dismissed all the review petitions filed by Nawaz Sharif, his children, son-in-law, and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Chaudhry said, “no review was carried out of our review petition”.

“All our main points regarding the right to a free trial were not considered,” he said, adding that the party will decide on its legal and political options after consultation.

“We are seeking a review of the country’s judicial system and talking about a ‘grand national dialogue’ because if a prime minister cannot get justice then how can a common person,” he remarked.

Addressing a press conference later, State IT Minister Anusha Rehman said the dismissal of review petitions is astonishing.

“The honourable bench assured us during the last three days that our rights will be protected at all costs but, while dismissing the references, the bench has not mentioned any such thing,” she lamented.

We are concerned that if a monitoring judge, who has ruled against us, remains on top of the case it will influence the lower court, she added.

Barrister Zafarullah, the prime minister’s special assistant, said the party has faith in the Constitution and the system. He said the dismissal of their review petitions is not the end of the world.

“This decision is similar to the one in the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Zafar Ali Shah and Maulvi Tameezuddin cases. History and people will decide on its merit,” he said, adding that “we are not anarchists”.

Zaffarullah said they are a democratic party and thus accept the verdict.

Sharing his party’s plans to “improve the system”, he said they will push the bill, already in Parliament, to place a right of appeal in cases taken up by the apex court under Article 184(3).

In response to a question, he said a judge of the Lahore High Court was also named in the Panama Papers and wondered why a case is not being pursued against him.

Zaffarullah and Rehman both claimed that there is not a single example where the Supreme Court appointed a monitoring judge for a case such as this one.

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