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Another Doctrine of Necessity moment before the Supreme Court

Shaheen Sehbai

THE PANAMA Case has reached the point where the honorable judges of the apex court have to decide where they stand. The choice is very limited. They have to prove that they are strong, committed, honest and determined to uphold the law. Or they will have to give solid legal, moral and even political arguments to justify a judgment that exonerates the Prime Minister and his family, which in the eyes of the country stands guilty. If the Court does not come up with a decision that upholds and enhances its legal and moral authority, the judges would have exposed themselves as weak, vulnerable, unable to face the pressure of indicting and declaring a sitting prime minister guilty, no matter what the evidence against him. Almost everyone who may be relevant has spoken in the case, inside and outside the Court. PM Nawaz Sharif has spoken in the Parliament and on TV to the nation; his children have come before TV cameras to make claims that have now become the noose around the family neck. Their lawyers have given their versions in the Court. Former chief justices Sajjad Ali Shah and Iftikhar Hussain Choudhry, Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed, leading lawyers Aitzaz Ahsan, Babar Awan, Anwar Mansoor, Farogh Naseem and many more, have stated on record that the case is simple — the PM and his family have just to produce the chain of money transfers that finally was used to buy the London properties. The lawyers of the PM, after weeks and months of delaying tactics, have finally admitted before the SC judges that they have no record of transactions. PM’s lawyer said transactions were done on the basis of paper slips (parchis) 40 years ago. What that means is that his client or his family was using illegal means to move money around and he has no record. The unexpected document of the Qatari prince has further complicated the issue for the PM. What then is left for another Judicial Commission or for the sitting 5-judge bench to investigate and find out? Aitzaz Ahsan says the big elephant in the room, i.e. the London properties of the Sharifs, is omnipresent and the case only needs a credible chain of documents, with no weak link, to be decided. He has also hinted that the long buried Doctrine of Necessity could again be invoked, as was done in the case against dismissal of the Junejo Government in 1988. If that happens, the Supreme Court will have legalised and legitimised political corruption forever. If the judges get cold feet and defer the case for a new bench or a new commission, it would mean they would have delivered a lethal blow to the image, integrity and independence of the judiciary. The present bench has declared many times that all other institutions of the country have collapsed. It is now time for them to prove their own institution is not one these crippled or dead bodies.

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Vision 21 is Pakistan based non-profit, non- party Socio-Political organisation. We work through research and advocacy for developing and improving Human Capital, by focusing on Poverty and Misery Alleviation, Rights Awareness, Human Dignity, Women empowerment and Justice as a right and obligation. We act to promote and actively seek Human well-being and happiness by working side by side with the deprived and have-nots.

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