Justice Asif Khosa of SC rescues himself from Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference

Justice Asif Khosa of SC rescues himself from Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference

Justice Asif Khosa of SC rescues himself from Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference

"I may observe that the soundness of both the said reasons prevailing with the high court for quashing the relevant reference was quite suspect (sic)", Justice Khosa wrote in his judgment in the Panama Papers verdict. While issuing directives to file reference against Ishaq Dar for possessing assets and funds beyond his known sources of income, the bench said in its order, "So is the case against Ishaq Dar, his assets increased 91 times from Rs 9.11 million to Rs 831.70 million within a short span of time".

Supreme Court judge Asif Saeed Khan Khosa on Monday recused himself from a bench that was constituted to hear the National Accountability Bureau's appeal to reopen the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif family.

On Monday, however, when the three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa arrived in the courtroom, Justice Asif Khosa recused himself from the bench, saying that the registrar's office might have made a mistake while fixing the instant case before his roster. The bench has now been dissolved and now a new bench will be formed.

Subsequently, a Supreme Court bench hearing the Panama Papers case had asked the bureau to reopen the case.

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Former attorney general Irfan Qadir said Justice Khosa's decision was commendable as he has given strong observation in his judgment about Hudaibiya Paper Mills and had also snubbed former NAB chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry.

The NAB has appealed to the apex court to declare the LHC verdict null and void in the interest of justice, fair play and equity.

A trial of the Sharif family, including Nawaz, his children - Maryam, Hasan and Hussain Nawaz - and son-in-law Captain (rtd) Safdar, is being conducted by the accountability court in three graft references regarding London flats, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and other companies.

It was contended that the LHC referee judge was not competent to set aside the findings of the high court, in which NAB had been allowed to re-initiate investigations against Sharif family members.

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On July 28, the apex court while announcing the landmark decision regarding Panamagate case had directed the NAB to reopen the case.

It had also questioned the role of NAB, which had seemingly favoured the Sharifs in the Hudaibya Paper Mills case by not challenging LHC's decision to quash it.

That reference was struck down by a referee judge of the Lahore High Court on March 11, 2014 in response to a writ petition filed in 2011 stating that Dar's confession was coerced.

The learned High Court had quashed the case as the PML-N continued to claim that Dar's statement was taken under duress.

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The Hudaibiya Paper Mills was allegedly used as a cover up by the Sharif family to launder money outside the country in the 1990s, Ishaq Dar had said in a confessional statement before a magistrate in 2000.

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