Sharif's Paper Mills case: Pakistan SC to form new bench


The bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan was to hear the case, but Justice Khosa recused himself from the bench and referred the matter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan for constituting another bench for the goal.

The bench, headed by Justice Khosa and comprising Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, was constituted on Friday. If the SC accepts NAB's plea to reopen the case, it would put Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, their mother Shamim Akhtar, Maryam Safdar, Hussain Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz in the dock when other corruption references against a lot of them are already in motion in the accountability courts. The bench has now been dissolved and now a new bench will be formed.

As the hearing commenced today, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that he has already spoken his mind in Panama Papers case and it will be inappropriate for him to adjudicate the case.

Following the revelations, the NAB had filed an appeal before the LHC against the mill, Sharif family, Dar and others.

That reference was struck down by a referee judge of the Lahore High Court on March 11, 2014 in response to a writ petition filed in 2011 stating that Dar's confession was coerced.

Dar turned approver in the case, but later retracted his statement given against the Sharifs claiming it was extracted under duress.

On July 28, the apex court while announcing the landmark decision regarding Panamagate case had directed the NAB to reopen the case. Later, NAB had decided not to challenge the high court's decision.

The reference accuses the respondents of setting up the Hudaibya Paper Mills to launder money under the cover of the Economic Reform Act 1992. These foreign currency accounts were then used as collateral for credit lines in rupees for Hudaibiya Mills. The reference also accused Finance Minister Dar of helping open a number of fictitious bank accounts, as well as a number of other illegal activities.

He further said that he has ordered NAB to reopen the case.

The Hudaibiya Paper Mills is basically about money laundering of Sharif family during 1990s.

The judge also said that the reference was quashed by then LHC because in the investigation, the Sharifs had not been associated and Dar's confessional statement had been made before a magistrate and not before the trial court.

In the appeal, the bureau has argued that the verdict was not in consonance with the dictum of the apex court, also contending that the referee judge was not competent to set aside the findings of the high court judge on the question of re-investigation.

In the presence of fresh material, produced by the Joint Investigation Team before the Supreme Court, NAB could not be blocked from fulfilling its legal obligations, the appeal concluded.