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Panamagate: JI lawyer earns the Supreme Court's ire

Continuing his arguments before the larger bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) counsel Taufiq Asif earned the ire of the presiding judges after he made repeated references to a past case which had validated the Oct 12, 1999 military takeover of the PML-N government at the time.
"The decision [in the Zafar Ali Shah case] had said that the London flats belong to the Sharif family," Advocate Asif insisted, as he tried to establish the relevance of using the judgement as a precedent.
This was the second instance the advocate had made this argument while presenting his arguments before the five-member Supreme Court bench.
What followed was a repeat of what happened when the argument was first presented: the bench reminded the lawyer that the decision reached in the Zafar Ali Shah case did not, in fact, acknowledge Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's ownership of the London flats.
The bench also expressed anger at the counsel for bringing the case up again, noting that he was insistent on referring to the case seemingly without having even read its decision.
Advocate Asif had told the bench that he wished to revisit arguments made by Khalid Anwar in the Zafar Ali Shah case.
"Tell us the court's findings, do not tell us what the lawyer's position was," Justice Khosa, who is presiding over the five-member bench of the apex court, admonished Asif.
"I will establish that Khalid Anwar was the defending lawyer [for Nawaz Sharif]," Asif insisted, which led to another grilling.
"Who was Khalid Anwar representing in the case?" Justice Sheikh Azmat asked, to which the counsel had to concede that Khalid Anwar was, in fact, representing Zafar Ali Shah.
"No, you do not even know. You have not even read the court's decision but are [insisting on] referring to it." Justice Azmat raged.
Justice Ijaz-ul-Hassan, in turn, told the lawyer that he had "made a mockery of the case."
"Khalid Anwar was not Nawaz Sharif's lawyer, he was the petitioner's lawyer," the judge repeated.
"You have caused as much damage to your client as you possibly could," Justice Azmat Saeed added.
The court told the lawyer that he had not been able to establish any relationship between the references he was making and the ownership of the London flats.
"One thing is clear: the London flats were not mentioned in that decision," Justice Khosa observed.
Concluding his arguments, Advocate Asif told the court that "there are serious doubts regarding the Dubai mill" in an apparent reference to the Gulf Steel Mills set up in Dubai in 1974.
"What good will come from these doubts?" Justice Khosa asked the lawyer.
Asif then told the court that he suspects the London flats were bought by selling the Gulf Steel Mills and asked the court to order the prime minister to present himself for cross-examination in this regard.
"All the petitioners should be given the chance to cross-examine Nawaz Sharif," he said.
Justice Khosa told the advocate that the bench would decide on the matter after hearing the arguments of all the petitioners.
"We will call Nawaz Sharif [to present himself in court] if there is a need for it," he assured.

Sheikh Ahsan Uddin takes over

"Now that all evidence has been brought forward, the court has a grave responsibility," Sheikh Ahsan Uddin, another counsel representing JI in the case, told the court as he took over the proceedings.
"What are all the 'evidences'?" Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked. "You can call them materials, not evidence," Justice Khosa added.
"What will happen if the evidence [you speak of], after being scrutinised under the Law of Evidence, is found to be useless?" Justice Azmat Saeed inquired.
Continuing, the lawyer quoted a definition of the term 'dependent' as "a person who receives the support of another."
There was laughter in the court room when Justice Khosa remarked that "Taufiq Asif must be your dependent then."
Sheikh Ahsan concluded his arguments by telling the court that the prime minister had bought property under Maryam Nawaz's name in 2012, and that "She was [therefore] a dependent".

"Gifts given to me were a token of my father's love"

Maryam Nawaz, in a written reply submitted to the apex court through her lawyer during proceedings today, has claimed that the gifts her father gave her were a token of his paternal love.
"The gifts were given to me with the consent of my mother and brothers," the document read.
The premier's daughter also maintained that she was not the owner of the London flats, and that the Park Lane flats were owned by her brother, Hussain Nawaz.
She claimed that she had accepted authority over Minerva Financial Services (the holding company that owns two other companies behind the London flats) at the request of her brother.
"Till this day, I have never visited the company, or met with any of its staff," she claimed
The reply also contained details of her marriage to husband Captain Safdar and briefly spoke of Captain Safdar's time in the army, after which he joined the civil service.
It stated that Captain Safdar had served as a government official after the family returned from exile and his income became the family's source of income.
However, the court rejected the document on the grounds that it did not carry Maryam Nawaz's signature.
Advocate Shahid Hamid, who is representing the prime minister's daughter, took the floor after submitting her reply to the bench.

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