( July 28, 2017, Islamabad, Sri Lanka Guardian) “Supreme Court Justice Asif Saeed Khosa started the court’s announcement of its verdict on the Panama Papers case shortly after 12:00pm,” Islamabad based daily, The Dawn has reported.
“Apologising for the delay, he gave the podium to Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who headed the apex court’s implementation bench following its April 20 order on the case,” the report added.
The report further reads as follows;
Justice Khan said the bench had recommended that all material collected by the JIT would be sent to an accountability court within six weeks, and that cases would be opened against Captain Muhammad Safdar, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz as well as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. A judgement should be announced within 30 days, he said
The prime minister was additionally disqualified from holding his office. The judges ruled that the prime minister had been dishonest to parliament and the courts and could not be deemed fit for his office.
The judgement was unanimous, with all judges agreeing to the verdict.
From Friday morning, all eyes were on Courtroom No. 1 of the Supreme Court in Islamabad, where a five-judge bench was set to announce the much-awaited verdict on the Panama Papers case at 11:30am. The proceedings started around half an hour later.
The original five-member bench of the Supreme Court which heard the Panama Papers case issued the final verdict. Justices Asif Saeed Khosa, Ejaz Afzal Khan, Gulzar Ahmed, Sheikh Azmat Saeed, Ijazul Ahsan were present for the hearing.
According to media reports, the courtroom was filled to capacity as prominent politicians, lawyers and journalists crowded the room to hear the judges decide Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s fate.
The twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi had been on high alert in anticipation of the SC verdict.
The Red Zone had also been partially sealed and people were only being allowed inside after undergoing identification and strict security checks.
Rangers and Frontier Constabulary personnel had been deployed at the Supreme Court and the Red Zone to assist the police.
Over the last few days, the entire country had been awaiting the apex court’s verdict with bated breath. Gossip, speculation and rumours had been rife over when the final verdict would be announced and what conclusion the judges would arrive at. The most important question of all remained whether the prime minister would be unseated or not.
On Thursday evening, the Supreme Court office had put all speculation to rest when it issued a supplementary cause list heralding the announcement of the judgement on Friday.
On the announcement that the larger bench would deliver the judgement, legal observers took the view that the earlier minority judgement, which recommended sending the prime minister packing, may become a majority view in case even one of the three majority judges ruled against the prime minister.
The court could also rule that there is still not enough evidence to topple Sharif, and call for a further investigation.
This is a developing story that is being updated as the situation evolves. Initial reports in the media can sometimes be inaccurate. We recommend you to click here to read the live update from The Dawn