March 23, 2018

SC bench dissolved as Justice Khosa excuses to hear Hudaibiya Case

14 November 2017, 04:43 | Taylor George

NAB had filed this appeal upon the observation of 5-member bench of Supreme Court in Panama case

NAB had filed this appeal upon the observation of 5-member bench of Supreme Court in Panama case

As the hearing commenced today, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that he has already spoken his mind in Panama Papers case and it will be inappropriate for him to adjudicate the case.

According to details Justice Khosa remarked that his name is being put in the bench by mistake of office.

The Supreme Court bench that was to hear the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) appeal against the decision of the Lahore High Court quashing the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif family was dissolved on Monday after Justice Asif Saeed Khosa recused himself. Now, with a new chairman in place, NAB has followed through on the commitment by its prosecutor general before the SC on September 15, 2017 to file an appeal within seven days, moving a separate application for the delay to be condoned. "May be the registrar office has not read my ruling in the panama case", he said, adding that his panama verdict included a 14-para judgement on the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.

The plea had been filed against the verdict of the Lahore High Court, which had quashed the case in 2014, following the revelations made by a report of Panama Papers case Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that had also recommended that the case should be reopened. Justice Khosa was to head the bench, which also consisted of Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.

On July 28, the apex court while announcing the landmark decision regarding Panamagate case had directed the NAB to reopen the case.

The anti-graft body had submitted that in view of the fact that the JIT which was constituted by the apex court while dealing with the petitions, for probing Panama matter, when collected further incriminating material regarding Hudaibiya Paper Mills, it (NAB) can not be debarred or restrained from proceeding further with the investigation, hence it would be appropriate to set aside the impugned judgment to the extent of re-investigation in order to fortify and corroborate the material collected by the JIT.

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The Hudaibiya Paper Mills is basically about money laundering of Sharif family during 1990s.

LHC referee Justice Sardar Shamim had quashed the reference on March 11, 2014 on the grounds that if a re-investigation was allowed against the Sharif family, it would provide an opportunity to the investigators to pad up lacunas. Later, NAB had decided not to challenge the high court's decision.

He further said that he has ordered NAB to reopen the case. The original reference in the Hudaibiya case in 2000 had relied on Ishaq Dar's confession to accuse the Sharif family of setting up Hudaibiya Paper Mills through laundered money under cover of the Economic Reforms Act 1992.

Following the revelations, the NAB had filed an appeal before the LHC against the mill, Sharif family, Dar and others.

Dar was not charged as he had become an approver in the case for the prosecution.

Dar later retracted his statement and claimed that the statement was gleaned under duress.

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