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SC to announce Panamagate judgment today

20 April, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court would announce the historic judgment of Panamagate on Thursday (today). A five-member larger bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and comprised of Justice Gulzar Ahmed, Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, and Justice Ejazul Ahsan would announce the judgment at 2pm.

On the occasion, security will remain tight inside and outside the court. People would be allowed to enter the court room with special security entry passes. There would be a ban on the entry of political workers on the premises of the court while PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Awami Muslim League President Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq would be provided special security.

Each party would be issued 15 entry passes.

Over 500 police personnel and additional contingent of Rangers would be deployed outside the court. Almost 6 to 8 police personnel would be deployed for the security of every political leader. Only entry pass holders would be allowed to enter the courtroom.

To stop the entry of political workers additional force would be deployed at check posts in Red Zone while stern action would be taken against sloganeers on the court premises.

The bench had reserved its verdict on February 23. The five judges on the bench have given their individual input in writing, keeping in view the significance of the case.

"Normally, one judge writes [a] judgment and his fellows endorse it. Here, every member of the larger bench is writing his own note," a source told a local newspaper. To keep things airtight, one of the judges is said to have penned down the judgment on his personal laptop.

On April 11, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, a member of the larger bench, observed that the Panamagate verdict would not just concern the Sharifs, but it would, in fact, set in motion a law which would last for centuries.

The ruling was delayed by more than a month - at first because all the judges were in different registries of the court and then because all of them were giving their individual input in writing due to the importance of the case.

Despite the weeks-long wait, everyone in Pakistan has been on the edge of their seats, with politicians especially anxious as their future course of action depends on the outcome of the judgment.

Separately, the government completed a discussion on Panama verdict on Wednesday.

Sources said that a meeting, chaired by Nawaz Sharif, was attended by legal professionals and his close aides.

It was decided in the meeting that the government will implement the verdict in "letter and spirit". All matters associated with the decision would be resolved immediately. A constitutional way would be adopted in case of court orders to remove the NAB chairman.

The option of appointment of new prime minister has not been taken into consideration in the meeting.

All those found involved in Panama case will be investigated in the light of SC decision.

Meanwhile, Kaptaan instructed the senior leadership to remain in Islamabad for the next three days.

He said this in a meeting to discuss party strategy in the days following the Panamagate verdict.

Legal experts are of the view that certain adverse observations and directions may be in store for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for their inaction over the Panama Papers leaks.

PTI lawmaker Shah Mehmood Qureshi talked to reporters while the PTI core committee meeting was underway in Bani Gala.

"They tried their best to put off discussion on Panama Leaks. They wanted the issue to die on its own. But PTI kept pushing," he said, adding that if the party had not pursued the case like it did, the issue would have been forgotten.

He said that the PTI spoke up for the people of Pakistan and clear the misconception that they do not care about corruption.

Qureshi praised the role of media and said journalists in talk shows and newspapers kept the issue alive.

He also thanked the public for taking interest in the issue, saying it made other political parties take notice and speak out on the issue as "previously, they were trying to deflect it".

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