Panama Leaks: PM not seeking immunity, clarifies counsel
ISLMABAD: The prime minister lawyer on Tuesday stated that his client has not sought immunity under Article 248 and his focus on this matter is because the petitioners have based their arguments on PM’s speech in the National Assembly.
A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, resumed hearing in the petitions filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami and Awami Muslim League.
PM’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan pleaded that Article 19 guaranteed freedom of expression to everyone.
On this, Justice Asif Khosa reminded him that his case doesn’t fall under Article 19 and he should confine his arguments to the case. Article 19 gives you the right to express and you are seeking immunity, he observed.
We are not prosecuting the prime minister on his speech, Justice Khosa said.
Maryam Nawaz too, submitted reply before the court regarding her dependency issue. Sharing five-year tax details, Maryam said since 1992, soon after getting married she isn’t under her father’s dependency.
Hearing a set of petitions seeking a probe into the Panama Leaks and disqualification of the prime minister for “lying” in the National Assembly, the apex court on Monday had observed that it had the jurisdiction to hear the cases directly and had done so in the past.
The apex court was informed that parliament could withdraw the immunity available to its members; however, the apex court will have to give its verdict in the PanamaLeaks case in accordance with the law.
Continuing his arguments, Makhdoom Ali Khan referred to Article 66 of the Constitution that gives legal protection to the proceedings of parliament wherein it is clearly mentioned that the proceedings of parliament could not be called into question by any court.
He contended that his client had not made any wrong statement on the floor of the house and even if he had, he enjoyed immunity. When the court asked him if the immunity given to the members of parliament could be withdrawn, Makhdoom Ali Khan replied that Parliament could withdraw the immunity but even then the apex court will have to give its verdict in accordance with the law on the issue of disqualification of prime minister for his speeches.
The court asked Makhdoom if the prime minister had not given a wrong statement in Parliament then why he was seeking immunity. When Justice Ijazul Ahsan asked Khan if he was contradicting the statement of his client, he said he was not contradicting the statement of prime minister but stressed that the court should also look into Article 66 that gives legal protection to proceedings of Parliament.