The counsel for Maryam Nawaz resumed his arguments on Wednesday before the five-member bench of the Supreme Court hearing the Panamagate case.
The counsel, Shahid Hamid, read out parts of a written statement submitted by Maryam Nawaz to the court, in which she claimed to not own any properties outside Pakistan, that the London flats belonged to her brother, Hussain Nawaz, and that he admits to owning them.
Hamid, in apparent reference to remarks made in an earlier hearing by one of the justices, also tried to argue that the case did not, in fact, hold special significance as a ‘public interest’ case as Maryam Nawaz was an ordinary citizen.
He argued that even if the court is to assume that the flats do indeed belong to Maryam Nawaz, there is nothing special to it as Maryam Nawaz is not dependent upon her father.
“The case is only in the scope of public interest if it is about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” the counsel argued, stating that Maryam Nawaz is being accused of being dependent on her father so that the prime minister can be dragged into it.
At this, Justice Gulzar Ahmed pointed out that the Supreme Court has not been asked to rule against Maryam Nawaz, and Justice Asif Saeed Khosa reminded the counsel that the allegation is that Maryam Nawaz has allegedly acted as her father’s front man.
Hamid countered that this allegation needs to be proven by the petitioner and not the defendant.
There was also discussion in court on the authenticity of Maryam Nawaz’s signature on documents linking her to Minerva Financial Services Limited, which were recently made public by [German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung].
Justice Azmat Saeed directed Hamid to a 2004 email from Maryam Nawaz in which she purportedly admitted to being a beneficiary owner of the Nielsen and Nescol companies. He also asked the counsel why, if Minerva holdings was hired in 2006, the court had been provided documents from 2011.
Hamid argued that signatures on the documents in question are fake and that the court can arrive at the same conclusion if it compares the signature on the documents with her original signature.
To this, Justice Ejaz Afzal remarked that only an expert would be able to compare the two signatures and that the judges lacked the capacity to make that judgement on their own.
However, Justice Gulzar did observe that the two signatures seemed to be considerably different than each other.
Justice Khosa nonetheless pointed out that the documents had been leaked by the International Centre for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and it was not possible for the parties to this case to go all the way to Panama and check all documents with Maryam Nawaz’s signature on them.
During Shahid Hamid’s arguments Justice Khosa pointed out that the defendants had not mentioned the letter from the Qatari prince in their first reply, however the letter was mentioned later in the additional evidence.
Mentioning the dates Justice Khosa said that the Qatari investments and the letter were neither mentioned in the reply submitted in court on Nov 5 nor on Nov 7.
During the proceedings Justice Khosa also asked that the will of Miyan Mohammad Sharif, Nawaz Sharif’s father be submitted in the Supreme Court.
He enquired if it will be possible for the will to be submitted in court in the next couple of days.