ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif submitted her reply to the court through her lawyer on Tuesday as the Panamagate case hearing continued. Maryam Nawaz in her reply maintained that she was not her father’s dependent after her marriage in 1992 to Captain Safdar, and that she lived with her husband after her wedding.
Maryam’s counsel, Shahid Hamid, presented details of assets and taxes paid by her in agriculture and non-agriculture income. She also submitted her tax details for the past five years. In 2012, she had filed Rs2,314,917 as income tax, Rs6,517,504 in 2013, Rs8,872,742 in 2014, Rs9,340,243 in 2015 and Rs12,128,778 in 2016. Maryam Nawaz’s reply stated that five homes comprise the Raiwind Estate which she said belongs to her paternal grandmother. Around 45.5 acres of 48 acres are under her grandmother’s supervision, the reply said. All the houses in the Raiwind Estate belong to my paternal grandmother, she said. The costs on Shamim Agricultural Farm are jointly paid, the reply said, of which Maryam Nawaz paid RsRs6,000,000 in 2014 and 2015.
A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, resumed hearing in the petitions filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami Muslim League. Prime minister’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan during the course of the hearing cited several judgments to establish that the apex court cannot adjudicate PM Nawaz on the basis of his speeches in Parliament.
The top court, however, observed that the privilege of lawmakers to say anything in Parliament without being held accountable was not absolute under Article 66 of the Constitution.
“Privilege of parliamentarians to say something in Parliament is not absolute under Article 66 of the Constitution,” Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh remarked during the hearing of the case against the premier and his family.
The PM’s counsel explained that if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was to speak somewhere other than the Parliament then he would ask for immunity under Article 248. Makhdoom Ali Khan mentioned during his arguments that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto also asked for immunity in the Chaudhary Zahur Ilahi case. On this Justice Khosa remarked that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had not made a speech in the NA in the Zahur Ilahi case, which is why giving the example of that case does not apply here.
The PM’s counsel further argued that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech on the National Assembly’s floor cannot be used as evidence. On this point, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa remarked that there are instances of the court examining Parliamentary proceedings in the past. Makhdoom Ali Khan replied saying that there are also instances where the court did not accept speeches as part of the evidence in the past.
However, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in his observation said nobody was prosecuting the prime minister on the basis of his speeches in the Parliament but the court was deliberating on whether it could look into the premier’s speech or not in the context of the case.
“These were not regular parliamentary proceedings as the prime minister himself volunteered to say something on the Panama Papers issue,” Justice Khosa said. “Committing a crime is not performance of official duty and the Parliament is not an island where you can do whatever you want,” he added. INP/News Desk