ISLAMABAD: Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who headed the five-member Supreme Court bench that issued the decisive Panama Papers verdict disqualifying Nawaz Sharif, clarified on Wednesday that all judges on the bench had agreed on the July 28 judgement.
The content of the minority judgement of April 20 [where the verdict was 3-2] and majority judgement of July 28 may have been different, but they both reached the same conclusion: Nawaz Sharif stands disqualified, said the judge.
The same five-judge bench that decided upon the Panama case began hearing on Wednesday the review petitions filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his children against the July 28 judgement. The bench also comprises justices Gulzar Ahmed, Ejaz Afzal, Azmat Saeed and Ijazul Ahsan.
Senior counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed who appeared on behalf of Sharif, argued that the two judges who had written dissenting notes against Nawaz in the initial April 20 judgement of the case could not have signed the verdict issued by the five-member bench on July 28.
The two dissenting judges in the April 20 order – Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar – had signed on a “different” verdict on July 28, the counsel maintained.
Justice Khosa, however, informed the counsel that the final verdict had been signed by all five judges, and the bench members had previously disagreed only over the formation of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).
“None of the three judges [who ruled in favour of further investigation on April 20] said they disagreed with the minority verdict [of disqualifying Sharif]”, he emphasises.
Justice Khosa said the two judges who ruled in favour of disqualification on April 20 did not add anything in the July 28 verdict.
Dissenting judges also sign final judgements, he said, adding that similar examples existed in judicial history.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar had on Tuesday ordered the formation of a five-member larger bench to hear the review petitions filed by Sharif, his children and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar against the Panama Papers case verdict.