ISLAMABAD: Resuming his orderly arguments before a five-member bench of the Supreme Court, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s counsel Khawaja Harris on Thursday said that Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution could not be applied to anyone merely concealing assets.
The court was hearing a set of review appeals filed by Sharif family members when Khawaja Haris said that he had been unable to any precedents in which the court had disqualified a public representative under Article 62 for concealing assets.
Cautioning long-lasting adverse outcomes of lifetime disqualification term, the council claimed that the Constitution does not specify such kind of disqualification under Article 62.
“My client has been disqualified for lifetime on not disclosing his work permit and salary from an offshore company, [however] nullifying general elections could only dismiss him for a single election term [five-year term],” he further said.
The senior counsel added that although his client was not backtracking from the employment agreement he did not have a bank account for the purpose.
To which, Justice Ejaz Afzal said that the employment agreement showed that a salary of 10,000 dirhams had been set for Sharif.
Joining in arguments, Justice Ahasan said that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) documents tell us that Sharif had a bank account to receive the salary. “According to the probing team findings, the first salary was drawn on August 1, 2013.”
“The question is, how can the court accept verbally that Nawaz Sharif did not receive the salary?” questioned Justice Afzal, adding that a state could not be accepted without scrutiny under the law of evidence.
The bench ruled that the documents provided by the JIT looking into the Sharif family’s businesses show that Nawaz Sharif did receive a salary as the chairman of Capital FZE, ruled the five-member bench.
To which, Harris argued that not every salary constitutes an asset.
“Sharif did not merit disqualification merely on this basis, [although] he had not withdrawn salary [from Capital FZE], it still constituted an asset [due to being a receivable],” Harris said.
The counsel contended that references could not be filed against the Sharif family on the basis of the JIT report, which he said was incomplete.
“We did not issue the verdict in light of the JIT report,” Justice Afzal responded, adding that court does not accept the report as credible evidence. He said the petitioners have the full right of defense in the accountability court.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa meanwhile observed that the apex court had in the past provided relief to Nawaz Sharif over violation of fundamental rights.