SC accepts Sharif family’s plea for five-judge bench to review Panama case verdict

ISLAMABAD, Sep 12 (INP) The Supreme Court decided on Tuesday that a five-judge bench will be formed to hear the review petitions of Nawaz Sharif, his children, son-in-law and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar against the July 28 Panama Papers case verdict.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ehsan, was hearing a plea submitted by the former prime minister’s children against the hearing of their review petition by a three-member bench instead of a five-judge bench.

The judges are the same as those on the special implementation bench that oversaw work of the Panama case Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

During the hearing, the counsel for Nawaz’s children, Salman Akram Raja, pleaded the court to form a five-member bench to hear their review petitions. He also pleaded that their review petition against the judgment of the five-member bench be taken up first.

Justice Ejaz observed that the three-judge bench gave the majority verdict in the Panama Papers case and that the decision would not have been different had the three-judge bench given a verdict in the case.

However, the bench accepted Raja’s plea and sent to the chief justice a request seeking formation of a five-judge bench.

The hearing was then adjourned till tomorrow.

During the hearing, the counsel of Nawaz, Khawaja Harris, was also present and presented his arguments.

Nawaz’s daughter Maryam, sons Hussain and Hasan, and son-in-law MNA Captain (retd) Safdar, moved an application in the apex court on Monday praying that their review pleas be heard by a five-member bench, instead of the three-member bench, and that the hearing be delayed till the formation of the five-member bench.

The children of the former premier reminded the court that they had filed two separate review petitions — one against the decision of the five-member Panama case bench and the other against the decision of the three-member implementation bench, thus the application against the decision of the five-member bench should be heard first.