Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supremo Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur on Monday filed a review petition against the Supreme Court’s January 7 decision in the ongoing money laundering case. The apex court, in a ruling passed in the case on Jan 7, had referred the JIT report and evidence collected to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for further investigation, directing the anti-corruption watchdog to wrap up its investigation within two months. The petition, filed by Latif Khosa on behalf of Zardari and Talpur, states that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) failed to submit final challan in the banking court as well as it was unable to find any evidence against them despite cooperation from all state institutions. “In the facts and circumstances of the case and in the light of the JIT report, which has no evidentiary value in the eyes of law, this honourable court was not justified at all to passing any order at all, giving directions to NAB, thereby curtailing rights of the petitioners and others,” the appeal reads. “The powers under Article 184(3) of the constitution are not unlimited, unfettered, completely discretionary, knowing no bounds,” the petition says, adding that the apex court’s decision “commits an error in holding that the constitution of the JIT is a valid exercise of jurisdiction in aid of a lawful object.” “The failure of the JIT to probe allegations of FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) were endorsed by this honourable court vide order dated Jan 7, 2019, thereby issuing certain directions which are uncalled for, illegal and require revisit and review,” the petition reads. It also argues that the directions issued in the SC order “are prejudicial to the petitioner in any futuristic eventualities of a fair trial and due process will not be possible under Article 10(a) of the constitution.” “The facts and circumstances of the case and in light of the JIT report, this court was not justified vide impugned order in directing the transmission of the JIT report along with all the material and evidence collected by the JIT to the NAB,” the petition reads. “That such binding dictates coming from the Supreme Court tantamount to obstructing the free flow of justice in the inquiry/investigation of NAB and JIT and is contrary to the authoritatively mandated,” it argues. The petitioners claimed that the JIT had exceeded its mandate and scope given to it. It said the allegations against Talpur were unlawful since JIT was only mandated to probe Zardari Group. “The result of the overstepping by the JIT from the task assigned to it in order dated September 5, 2018, by the Hon’able Court was politically exploited in which 172 persons enmass were placed on ECL including PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Murad Ali Shah.” The petition said the inquiry “starting with limited number of fake accounts was stretched by the JIT into a roving inquiry and witch hunting crossing over into unfathomed waters.” “The petitioners have been subjected to a derogatory campaign to stigmatise and malign them politically for unreservedly standing with the downtrodden voiceless weak segment of the society.” The review petition argued that there were ‘no direct allegations’ levelled by the JIT against the petitioners and the report itself had ‘recommended further probe’ against the accused. The appeal declared that the filing of a reference in NAB Rawalpindi was ‘unlawful’ as the ‘entire alleged record’ of the case was in Karachi. Later speaking to media outside the apex court, Khosa confirmed filing the review petition. “The matter pertains to a banking court. It does not fall under Article 184(3) of the constitution. Since a challan has already been sent to the banking court, there is no need to refer the case to NAB,” he maintained. To apex court’s decision to take suo motu notice due to slow progress in the case, Khosa stressed that there were thousands of cases pending in courts. “If the court intention was to expedite the judicial proceedings, then there are many more cases that it also needs to focus on.” Last year, a joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court had submitted a report alleging that a close nexus had been found between a troika of Zardari Group, Bahria Town and Omni Group in the fake accounts scandal. The report revealed that at least 29 bank accounts had been identified as fake, which had been used for laundering of a huge sum of Rs 42 billion. Published in Daily Times, January 29th 2019.