During the Panama case hearings on Thursday, once again Salman Akram Raja, who is now representing Maryam Nawaz along with Hassan and Hussain Nawaz submitted more documents on behalf of his clients to the bench. These documents, including a certificate, copy available with Pakistan Today, acquired from Abu Dhabi Customs show that scrap and machinery from the Gulf Steel Mills were indeed moved to Abu Dhabi from Dubai after it was liquidated.
Among the plethora of documents is receipt of an invoice from Ahli Steel Company that verifies the shipment of dismantled rolling mill equipment from the Al-Azizia Steel Company and a document from JPCA Ltd, an accountancy firm, dealing with the ownership of Nescoll and Neilsen.
Advocate Raja also submitted the papers from Minerva Financial Services Limited, which is the holding firm for both companies Nescoll and Nielson. Interestingly, a copy of an agreement between PM’s cousin Tariq Shafi and Mohammad Abdullah Ahli for the sale of 25pc shares in Ahli Steel which was shown on repeat mode by every channel on Wednesday night has also been submitted to the court.
Pakistan Today asked notable lawyers, former judges and jurists about how the submission of new documents can affect the case and what importance SC will assign them?
‘The only thing that can possibly go against them is that they had withheld documents and filed it later. It is for the judges to decide and both parties can file documents at any stage. But let us be very clear that there is no bar on the court not to accept and consider the documents,’ said former Lahore High Court Justice Nasim Sikandar when asked about the standing of new documents in the eyes of the court.
Sikander said that since the Supreme Court was not holding a trial thus documents that were not previously available can be submitted. ‘It is up to the judges to see. The principle of review can also come in play according to which any document which was not in your purview but you have obtained it afterwards is admissible to the court,’ he said.
‘Didn’t you see what became of the respondents’ counsel in the court today? The whole bench asked them to give their arguments to media outside,’ said Supreme Court advocate Chaudhry Faisal after the hearing. He opined that somewhere in the minds of judges there was apprehension that the documents were being forged as well.
‘They’ve notarized the trust deed on Saturday when there is no lawyer available. See, the clients routinely give lawyers forged, fake documents, a lawyer is duty bound to check the veracity of those documents,’ he said.
‘They’ve only submitted two new documents, pertaining to Abu Dhabi factory rest of the documents were submitted before. They played and befooled the media,’ Faisal concluded.
‘The documents that the Sharif family has failed to submit to the JIT, have no value in the eyes of law now,’ said Advocate Supreme Court Mushtaq Ahmed while talking to Pakistan Today adding that the JIT was formed for the purpose of collecting evidence. ‘Whatever their defence, they were legally bound to produce all the said documents before the JIT, since they have failed to do so, now they have been stopped from doing this,’ he said.
When asked about the consequences of forging and faking documents, Ahmed said that law was very clear when it came to such conduct. ‘Cheating is dealt with Section 420 Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) punishable by seven years. Most importantly, some of these documents were on valuable security and concerned monetary transactions, it came under Section 467 PPC and the punishment in that case was life imprisonment and lastly, we have Section 468, that dealt with false documents etc and punishment in that case was 7 years,’ he concluded.