- Talal Chaudhry says ‘all our main points regarding the right to a free trial were not considered’
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders on Friday expressed dismay over the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the review petitions filed by the Sharif family and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar against the Panama Papers judgement of July 28.
Expressing his anguish over the SC’s decision, Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said the government had an idea about the decision of the SC but they still decided to go for a review.
Addressing reporters, he said that the PML-N was a mature political party and it does not wish to seek a ‘clash’ among state institutions.
Referring to the recent bench-bar row in Multan, he said that the government protected the judiciary after the agitation from lawyers, which was its duty.
“We don’t want anyone to repeat their mistakes, including us,” he said, adding that in an atmosphere where a US president makes such dangerous remarks, the country needs to stand united.
He requested political workers of all parties to consider Sunday’s by-election in NA-120 as just an election and nothing more.
“We need to tolerate each other with patience and just let the people decide on,” he suggested.
The minister also stated that no one can oust former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from the political scene of the country.
He also congratulated Maryam Nawaz for running a successful campaign for her mother Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the party’s candidate in NA-120.
Meanwhile, State Interior Minister Talal Chaudhry said that the SC did not even evaluate the pleas against the Panama Papers judgement.
In TV interviews, soon after the court dismissed all the review petitions filed by Nawaz Sharif, his children, son-in-law, and Finance Minister Dar, Chaudhry said, “No review was carried out of our review petition.”
“All our main points regarding the right to a free trial were not considered,” he said, adding that the party will decide on its legal and political options after consultation.
“We are seeking a review of the country’s judicial system and talking about a grand national dialogue because if a prime minister cannot get justice then how can a common man,” he remarked.
Addressing a press conference later, State Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman said that the dismissal of review petitions is astonishing.
“The honourable bench assured us during the last three days that our rights will be protected at all costs but, while dismissing the references, the bench has not mentioned any such thing,” she lamented.
“We are concerned that if a monitoring judge, who has ruled against us, remains on top of the case it will influence the lower court,” she added.
Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Barrister Zafarullah said that the party had faith in the constitution and the system, and the dismissal of their review petitions was not the end of the world.
“This decision is similar to the one in the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Zafar Ali Shah and Maulvi Tameezuddin cases. History and people will decide on its merit,” he said, adding that “we are not anarchists”.
He also said that PML-N was a democratic party and thus accepted the verdict.
Sharing his party’s plans to “improve the system”, he said that they will push the bill, already in parliament, to place a right of appeal in cases taken up by the apex court under Article 184(3).
In response to a question, he said that a judge of the Lahore High Court was also named in the Panama Papers and wondered why a case was not being pursued against him.
Zaffarullah and Rehman both claimed that there was not a single example where the SC appointed a monitoring judge for a case such as this one.