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Panama verdict: Pakistan SC rejects Sharifs' review petitions (Third Lead)

Islamabad, Sep 15 (IANS) In a massive blow to Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistan Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the review petitions filed by the deposed Prime Minister and his children against the July 28 Panama Papers judgement. The ruling PML-N called the verdict a “disappointment” while Sharif’s daughter and party leader Maryam Nawaz said “revenge was being taken in the name of accountability”.

A five-judge SC bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa had taken up the petitions seeking review of the court’s ruling which disqualified Sharif and ordered the filing of corruption cases against him and his children — Hussain, Hassan and Maryam Nawaz, son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

“For the reasons (to be) recorded later, all these review petitions are dismissed,” Justice Khosa announced. The reasons will be revealed later in a detailed order, the Dawn online reported.

With the rejection of the review petitions, Sharif’s disqualification as a member of the Parliament remains valid. The Sharif family and Dar will now face corruption cases filed by the National Accountability Bureau in the accountability court.

While addressing a women convention in Lahore, Maryam Nawaz, reiterated that Sharif was disqualified because he did not take income from his son. “Do you accept this unjust verdict?” She asked NA-120 voters in Lahore, adding “If you are against the verdict then vote for lion on September 17.”

Talking to reporters outside the court, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader and Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rahman said the court’s decision was a “disappointment” for her party.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan thanked the Supreme Court for ending what he referred to as the “rule of the mafia”.

He said Sharif tried his best to pressurise the Supreme Court with “gimmicks” like his GT Road Rally after his disqualification.

He said the Sharifs had attempted to get the monitoring judge removed during court proceedings to delay the cases against them, but their efforts have failed with the Supreme Court’s dismissal of review petitions.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry termed the decision as “victory for good governance”.

Advocate Salman Akram Raja, who represented Sharif’s children and son-in-law, said the decision of the apex court will have a far-reaching effect on several areas, including electoral laws.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law, Zafarullah Khan, termed the verdict “unjustified”.

The bench also comprised Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan — who along with the latter two headed the special implementation bench in the Panama case that oversaw the work of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that examined the references to the Sharifs and Dar in the Panama Papers.

On July 28, Sharif was dismissed by the apex court and stepped down after a probe into the Panama papers scandal revealed he had not declared income received from a firm owned by his son in Dubai.

The Panama Papers revealed in April 2016 that three of his four children had set up offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands through which they owned property in London, leading the top court to order an investigation after a year of protests by the opposition.

After Friday’s decision, the Sharif family and Dar will have to seek justice in the Islamabad Accountability Court, where three cases against the Sharif family and one against the Finance Minister have been filed.

The members of the Sharif family have been summoned by the accountability court on September 19 and Dar on September 20.

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