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
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.