Hu­daibiya bench breaks af­ter Jus­tice Khosa opts out

Supreme Court to form new bench; NAB pros­e­cu­tor asked the court that the case be heard next week

Daily Messenger - - Front Page -

IS­LAM­ABAD: Jus­tice Asif Saeed Khosa on Mon­day re­cused him­self from a Supreme Court (SC) bench con­sti­tuted to de­lib­er­ate a ref­er­ence per­tain­ing to the Sharif fam­ily's Hu­daibiya Pa­per Mills and asked Chief Jus­tice of Pak­istan Mian Saqib Nisar to set up a new bench to hear the case.

Jus­tice Khosa, who was ap­pointed to head the bench, dis­tanced him­self from the case as soon as the court pro­ceed­ings started and said, "I think the reg­is­trar's of­fice made a mis­take by putting this case on my ros­ter as I have al­ready writ­ten 14 para­graphs on this mat­ter in the April 20 Panama Pa­pers ver­dict."

"I think the reg­is­trar's of­fice has not read my Pana­m­a­gate ver­dict. In it, I even gave my rul­ing on the mat­ter as far as Ishaq Dar is con­cerned," he added.

Re­cap­ping his ver­dict in the case, Jus­tice Khosa said, "Ishaq Dar was an ac­cused in the case, then he turned into an ap­prover."

"How­ever, once the pre­vi­ous ver­dict in the case is go­ing to be ren­dered void, Dar's sta­tus as ap­prover will also end," he added.

The Na­tional Ac­count­abil­ity Bureau (NAB) pros­e­cu­tor asked the court that the case be heard next week.

Ap­prov­ing the NAB pros­e­cu­tor's re­quest, Jus­tice Khosa sent an ap­pli­ca­tion to the chief jus­tice ask­ing that a new bench be cre­ated to hear the case.

NAB had ap­pealed to the apex court against the Lahore High Court's 2014 de­ci­sion to ac­quit Nawaz Sharif and sev­eral mem­bers of his fam­ily in the Hu­daibiya Pa­per Mills case.

In its ap­peal, the bureau had asked the apex court to set aside the 2014 judge­ment "in the in­ter­est of jus­tice, fair play and eq­uity".

Nam­ing Nawaz Sharif, Pun­jab Chief Min­is­ter Shah­baz Sharif, their de­ceased brother Abbas Sharif and five other fam­ily mem­bers as re­spon­dents, NAB had urged the court to de­clare the LHC judge­ment void and il­le­gal.

NAB had ar­gued in its ap­peal that the ref­eree judge was not "com­pe­tent" to set aside the find­ings of the high court, in which NAB had been al­lowed to re- ini­ti­ate in­ves­ti­ga­tions against Sharif fam­ily mem­bers.

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