A senior judge heading the panel hearing the review petitions of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif said on Wednesday that the PML-N leader’s disqualification was based on unanimous decision by five-members of the bench.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who is heading the original five-member panel to review Sharif’s petitions, clarified that the final judgment was approved by all five judges. Confusion was created as the court gave two verdicts in the Sharif corruption case, a 3-2 judgement of April 20 and three-member unanimous judgement of July 28.
Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar disqualified Sharif on April 20 while three fellow judges – Ejaz Afzal, Azmat Saeed and Ijazul Ahsan – demanded more probe and set up Joint Investigation Team (JIT).
They gave their disqualification verdict on July 28 after the JIT report was submitted and discussed. But the second verdict was also signed by Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar, despite the fact they were not part of bench after April 20. Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Harris objected how they could have approved the verdict by three other fellow judges when they were not part of the bench.
Justice Khosa said that initially all five members of the bench had agreed on the disqualification of Sharif but three members wanted more probe to clarify certain points. He said the conclusion of all the judges were same that Sharif should be disqualified, therefore the final judgment was approved and signed by all five judges.
“None of the three judges (who ruled in favour of further investigation on April 20) had disagreed with the minority verdict (of disqualifying Sharif),” he said. He also rejected Sharif’s lawyer’s argument that the two judges after April 20 judgement could not have signed the verdict of July 28.
Haris said that Sharif was disqualified under Article 62 (1)(f), which deprived him of the right of appeal. “Sharif should have been given the chance of a fair trial,” he said. He also objected to the Supreme Court’s decision to appoint a supervisory judge to oversee proceedings of corruption cases against the Sharif family, which, he said, was against the fundamental rights.
“We don’t have any example from the past that a judge who was a part of the panel which issued the verdict was also made the supervisory judge,” said Harris. The counsel also raised objection to the formation of the JIT and its report. He was still arguing when the court adjourned the hearing until tomorrow.