ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan will announce the much-awaited Panamagate judgment on April 20 (Thursday).
According to the supplementary cause list issued by the SC on Tuesday, the judgment is scheduled to be announced at 2pm in courtroom 1.
Officials said that only those people who had special passes and security clearance would be allowed to enter the Supreme Court premises on April 20.
On February 23, the top court had reserved judgment in the Panamagate case. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and the Awami Muslim League (AML) have all sought Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification as a member of the National Assembly.
The top court’s five-member larger bench, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, had been hearing the Panamagate case. A total of 26 hearings were held. Documents comprising approximately 20,000 pages were submitted in the apex court by petitioners and the Sharif family.
The petition of PTI Chairman Imran Khan was pleaded by Naeem Bukhari, while AML Chief Shaikh Rasheed pleaded in-person. JI was represented by Taufeeq Asif.
Likewise, Makhdoom Ali Khan appeared on behalf of PM Nawaz Sharif and Salman Akram Raja defended PM’s sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz. Shahid Hamid represented PM’s daughter Maryam Safdar, his son-in-law Muhammad Safdar and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
After the conclusion of arguments at the last hearing, Justice Khosa had observed that this was not a case in which a short order could be passed.
He had further said that judges would look into each and every aspect of the documents submitted, after which the judgment would be given in accordance with the Constitution and law.
Regarding the authenticity of submitted documents, Justice Khosa had said that if these documents were objected on the grounds of validity, then 99.9 percent of the submitted documents would have to be ‘thrown away’.
At the last hearing, another member of the bench, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, had observed that the judgment had to be given in accordance with the law and without looking at wishes and opinions.
“So if a judge, even after the passage of 20 years, reads our judgment, he could say that the judgment was made by the book,” Justice Khosa had said.
“Our pronouncement will be a law, which will endure for centuries,” Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan had said while referring to the Panamagate case, while hearing separate appeals filed by the Punjab government departments against the Lahore High Court’s order suspending the construction of the Orange Line Metro Train project.
He had also observed that the Panamagate verdict would not just concern the Sharif family, but it would set down a law, which would be used for centuries.
On April 8, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said the army, like every Pakistani, was awaiting a verdict in the Panamagate case based on justice and merit.
Legal experts believe the larger bench will interpret Articles 62, 63 and 66 of the Constitution to set parameters for qualification and disqualification of parliamentarians in future. Article 66 specifically talks about the privileges given to MPs.
In November last year, the PM had denied holding offshore companies in a written response to the SC on Panamagate petitions. In his reply, the PM said he had declared all his assets in 2013 and hence he was not liable for disqualification under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.