Panamagate case: JI’s turn to make arguments

The Supreme Court on Monday resumed hearing of the Panamagate case, with Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) lawyer Advocate Taufiq Asif arguing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech in the National Assembly last year was against the rules of the House.

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Taufiq Asif maintained the Panamagate case is about the Sharif family, not the government. He said that NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq allowed the PM to deliver a speech after suspending the proceedings of the Lower House, which is against the rules.

Justice Azmat Saeed then advised the JI counsel to read Article 69 and argue his case according to that.
However, the advocate maintained that PM Nawaz Shareef’s NA speech does not fall under Article 69 as it was a speech that addressed allegations levied on Nawaz Sharif on a personal level.

Once again, the question about the PM’s speech being a part of the proceedings of the NA was raised by Justice Khosa.

JI’s counsel replied that the speech was not part of the assembly’s agenda that day.

The PM conducted his speech on Monday while Tuesday is the designated day for the proceedings regarding private matters; JI’s council argued and said that, if the PM had to provide personal details then his speech he should have made the speech on Tuesday.

Justice Azmat then enquired if the JI counsel maintained that the speaker should not have given the prime minister permission to conduct the speech. Was the PM not given the permission to conduct his speech by the speaker? He inquired further.

Justice Gulzar asked if someone objected to the PM’s speech in the National Assembly that day?
Advocate Taufiq replied that the Opposition walked out of the National Assembly in response to the PM’s speech.

Justice Gulzar inquired if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech was stricken from the National Assembly’s record.

“Is it proper or is it admissible for the prime minister to appear in the National Assembly to explain about his family business in his speech,” asked Justice Ijazul Hassan.

Advocate Taufiq replied that the speech is part of the record but the right of immunity does not extend to it.

The JI counsel then requested that the speaker of the National Assembly be asked to hand in the speech to court.

The judges inquired if the transcript of the speech attached with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s evidence was incorrect.

Justice Khosa inquired if any of the parties in the case had any reservations regarding the speech.
The advocate maintained that there may have been some errors in translation of the speech.

The speech is an important part of the evidence against Nawaz Sharif, the JI counsel maintained.
The judges concluded that they will consider the evidence provided earlier as true.

The JI counsel pointed out PM’s immunization in the case and spoke against any such action, if approved.
He also mentioned that the prime minister separated himself from his children and even changed his counsel, neither is a money trail provided for the notorious “London Flats”.

On this line of argument Justice Khosa remarked, it looks like the JI counsel is trying to buy more time by repeating old arguments.

The bench has instructed Advocate Taufiq Asif to wrap his arguments up within the next hearing to be held on Tuesday.

Taufiq pleaded for a ban on television talk shows and news discussions about the Panamagate case.

In reply to this, Justice Khosa said that a lot has been said and done and everyone should wait for the court’s judgment before discussing it further on the media.

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