We are not partial: Supreme Court of Pakistan

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected the contention of the ousted premier Nawaz Sharif’s lead lawyer that the court seemed to be ‘partial’ in the disqualification case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, by allowing him to submit additional documents, despite the hearing of the case been concluded.

The three-member bench of the apex court also observed that the court was not holding a trial.

The bench is hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi, seeking disqualification of Khan (and PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen) for non-disclosure of assets, ownership of offshore companies, alleging PTI being a foreign-aided party.

Sharif’s lead lawyer Akram Shaikh argued that there was a perception that the disqualification case against Imran Khan was not being heard in the manner the Panama Papers case was heard.

When the hearing commenced Monday and the court took up Khan’s revised statement seeking amendments to his earlier statement, Sheikh, also senior counsel for Abbasi, objected to the plea of amendment in Khan’s statements, stating that the court had already closed the hearings of the case.

He said the court’s decision of allowing Khan to submit additional documents even after the conclusion of proceeding was creating such perceptions.

He said the court should not allow the PTI chief to amend his earlier statements, adding that he had filed around a dozen statements having inconsistent stances on different matters along with contradictory documents.

One of the judges hearing the case observed that the larger bench in the Panama Papers case had repeatedly been asking questions and seeking documents from the Sharif family to establish the money trail of Landon flats, but they failed to satisfy it, thus the matter was referred to the joint investigation team (JIT).

Whereas, Imran Khan was presenting relevant documents on every question being asked by the court, adding that the court was still trying to establish authenticity of the documents being submitted by him, thus this case had no comparison with the Panama Papers case, the judge observed.

He said Khan was allowed to submit additional documents, just to save the court’s time for further probe into the matter. He said the court was examining whether Mr Khan made a correct statement about the purchase of Bani Gala property in Islamabad.

“The court had left the case open for itself and had asked Khan’s attorney Naeem Bukhari for additional documents,” said the chief justice who is heading the bench.

The chief justice noted that the court wanted to give maximum chance to the parties involved in the case to present their arguments. He said when a case headed to its final conclusion, new things emerge, adding that the court was not holding a trial.

He said the receipts pertaining to money trial of Bani Gala property from Jemima Goldsmith to Imran Khan had been viewed and now it had to be determined whether Khan lied as a parliamentarian or not.

The court asked complainant’s attorney to submit in writing within a week the inconsistencies in Imran Khan’s statements before the top court.

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