Continuing his arguments before the larger bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) counsel Taufiq Asif earned the ire of the presiding judges after he made repeated references to a past case which had validated the Oct 12, 1999 military takeover of the PML-N government at the time.
“The decision [in the Zafar Ali Shah case] had said that the London flats belong to the Sharif family,” Advocate Asif insisted, as he tried to establish the relevance of using the judgment as a precedent.
This was the second instance where the advocate had made the same argument.
What followed was a repeat of what happened when the argument was first presented: the bench reminded the lawyer that a decision had already been made in the Zafar Ali Shah case and it did not, in fact, acknowledge the PM’s ownership of the London flats.
The bench also expressed anger at the counsel for bringing the case up again, noting that he was persisting with the argument, seemingly without even reading its decision.
Advocate Asif had told the bench that he wished to revisit arguments made by Khalid Anwar in the Zafar Ali Shah case.
“Tell us the court’s findings, do not tell us what the lawyer’s position was,” Justice Khosa, who is presiding over the five-member bench of the apex court, admonished Asif.
“I will establish that Khalid Anwar was the defending lawyer [for Nawaz Sharif],” Asif insisted, which led to another grilling.
“Who was Khalid Anwar representing in the case?” Justice Sheikh Azmat asked, to which the counsel had to concede that Khalid Anwar was, in fact, representing Zafar Ali Shah.
“No, you do not even know. You have not even read the court’s decision but are [insisting on] referring to it.” Justice Azmat remarked furiously.
Justice Ijaz-ul-Hassan, in turn, told the lawyer that he had “made a mockery of the case.
“Khalid Anwar was not Nawaz Sharif’s lawyer, he was the petitioner’s lawyer,” the judge repeated.
“You have caused as much damage to your client as you possibly could,” Justice Azmat Saeed added.
“One thing is clear: the London flats were not mentioned in that decision,” Justice Khosa observed.
Concluding his arguments, Advocate Asif told the court, “There are serious doubts regarding the Dubai mill” in an apparent reference to the Gulf Steel Mills set up in Dubai in 1974.
“What good will come from these doubts?” Justice Khosa asked the lawyer.
Asif then told the court that he suspects the London flats were bought by selling the Gulf Steel Mills and asked the court to order the prime minister to present himself for cross-examination in this regard.
“All the petitioners should be given the chance to cross-examine Nawaz Sharif,” he said.
Justice Khosa told the advocate that the bench would decide on the matter after hearing the arguments of all the petitioners.
“We will call Nawaz Sharif [to present himself in court] if there is a need for it,” he assured.