ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday admitted Sharif family’s plea for formation of five-member larger bench of the apex court to hear the review petition against the court’s July 28th decision in Panama Papers case.
A five-member larger bench had disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding the office of prime minister and ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to initiate investigations against the former prime minister’s sons, son-in law and his close aide Ishaq Dar.
According to sources, a three-member bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan after hearing the arguments of Salman Akram Raja, counsel for Nawaz Sharif’s children, and Khawaja Haris, counsel for Sharif, sent the matter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Saqib Nisar.
Salman Akram Raja said the plea for formation of five-judge bench was filed because the last decision (July 28) was passed by a five-judge bench.
He said decision of the five member bench would sustain even if the applicant gains relief from the three-judge bench, praying the court to set up a five judge bench.
Sharif family objects to three-judge bench
The children of ousted prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Monday filed an application with the Supreme Court seeking a delay in the hearing of their review petitions against the 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, will today (Tuesday) take up the review petitions of Nawaz Sharif, his children and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, sons Hussain and Hassan and son-in-law MNA Captain (retd) Safdar, through their counsel Salman Akram Raja, moved an application under Order XXXIII, Rule 6 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1980, praying that their review pleas be heard by a five-member bench, instead of three-member bench, and the hearing be delayed till the formation of the five-member bench.
They pleaded the court to hear the review pleas against the five-member bench verdict first. They contended that since July 28 verdict that disqualified Nawaz Sharif as prime minister was final, and was signed and announced by a five-member bench, therefore, the review petitions should also be heard by a five-member bench instead of a three-member bench.
The application further stated that the same five-member bench or any other bench of the same size should be constituted to hear the review applications against the five-member bench verdict.
“In terms of legal and constitutional dispensation of the State of Pakistan, a Supreme Court bench of lesser strength cannot upset or pre-empt the decision of a larger bench,” they contended.
The children of former premier reminded the court that they had filed two separate review petitions — one against the decision of the five-member bench and the other against the decision of the three-member bench, thus the application against the decision of the five-member bench should be heard first.