Judge facing Panama probe resigns


LAHORE: Justice Farrukh Irfan of the Lahore High Court (LHC) who was facing a reference in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for owning an offshore company reportedly resigned from his office on Tuesday.

The reference was filed by Nazar Muhammad Chohan, a former bureaucrat, against Justice Farrukh Irfan after his name surfaced in the Panama Papers that blew the whistle on many powerful people across the world, including Pakistan former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

On March 11, Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) headed by the chief justice of Pakistan gave the LHC judge last chance to produce witnesses in the case and said that the council would record his statement at all costs on the next hearing.

He had also expressed annoyance over seeking of adjournment by Justice Farrukh Irfan. He observed that the case was pending for the last three years.

Hamid Khan, counsel for Justice Farrukh, said witness Sanjeev Kumar Patel was in Dubai where his daughter was in Coma at a hospital while other witnesses Aseeb ur Rehman, Nisar Bhatti and Syed Munashar Ali were in London. He said the witnesses could not appear before the council due to the closure of Pakistani airspace.

He reminded Hamid Khan that on previous hearing, he told that his client would produce former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary as a witness in the case.

Hamid Khan had responded that former chief justice was in Islamabad and could be produced anytime. He pleaded the court to give a one-month time to produce witnesses.

The chief justice had said the court was giving last chance to produce witnesses. He asked the counsel to assure the council for production of witnesses on next hearing and adjourned hearing till April 8.