Sharifs can cross-examine JIT members before accountability court: SC

It has been requested by Sharif family that review petitions should be heard by a five-member bench

It has been requested by Sharif family that review petitions should be heard by a five-member bench

Ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif's lawyer Khawaja Harris on Wednesday presented his arguments during the hearing of Sharif family's review petitions over Panamagate verdict and said that his client should be given a chance for fair trial.

The anti-graft watchdog was asked to file the references again after addressing the objections raised by the Registrar Office.

The 67- year-old Sharif was disqualified for "dishonesty" because he had not declared an income due to him from his son's Dubai-based firm.

Sharif's review petition had contended that his unceremonious disqualification under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution could not have been invoked without conducting a regular trial.

The reference was moved by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) that was ordered by the apex court to file references against the Sharif family, close adie to former prime minster Ishaq Dar and Captain (retd) Safdar.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan acknowledged that the court had praised the JIT investigation, saying that the findings would be scrutinised in the trial court. The bench also comprises justices Gulzar Ahmed, Ejaz Afzal, Azmat Saeed and Ijazul Ahsan.

However, the bench accepted Salman Akram Raja's plea and sent to the Chief Justice a request seeking formation of a five-judge bench and adjourned hearing of the Case till Wednesday.

Following the decision, the apex court formed a six-member inquiry team that included Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia, Military Intelligence's Brig Kamran Khurshid, National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) Director Irfan Naeem Mangi, State Bank of Pakistan's Amer Aziz, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan's (SECP) Executive Director Bilal Rasool and Inter-Services Intelligence's Brig Muhammad Nauman Saeed. Mangi was a member of that JIT.

Earlier on Tuesday, the apex court's three-judge bench recommended the CJP to constitute a larger bench to hear the petitions.

The children of the former Premier reminded the court that they had filed two separate review petitions - one against the decision of the five-member Panama case bench and the other against the decision of the three-member implementation bench, and thus the application against the decision of the five-member bench should be heard first, the report said. In case of conviction, besides imprisonment, the person could be disqualified for holding any public office for a period that could extend even for life, they added.

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