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LHC Justice: Bail for Sohail Zia Butt, conviction for Rehman Malik!

The honourable judges of the Lahore High Court continue to leave no stone unturned in disgracing the institution of judiciary in Pakistan. On 11th October 2010 the court granted bail to the PML-N leader Sohail Zia Butt and suspended his three year sentence given in absentia.

The verdict is in line with every verdict given in Pakistan and worldwide. Verdicts pronounced in absentia are procedurally rescinded and sentences suspended pending appeals and retrials, the verdict follows all precedents except one.

Not six months ago, due to the ‘increasingly deteriorating situation in the country’ the LHC took a novel step by upholding the conviction of interior minister Rehman Malik. His bail was terminated and an arrest warrant issued. This was done by the independent judiciary in the name of setting an example, certainly it wanted to set examples it had no intention of following.

The fact that the conviction of Rehman Malik was done in absentia was ignored. The bench observed in its order while dismissing the minister’s appeals that, “after conviction, if a person is not taken into custody or not admitted to bail, such a person is deemed to be fugitive of law and would not be entitled to any relief.” It was in this scenario that President Zardari was forced to pardon Mr Rehman Malik, him being denied a fair trial in broad daylight.

The news published in Dawn News:

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday released PML-N leader Sohail Zia Butt on bail. The court also suspended the three-year-long prison sentence given to him by an accountability court.

The Accountability Court in Lahore had sentenced former MPA of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz to prison.

He had been arrested by the National Accountability Bureau on September 1 over his alleged involvement in a National Industrial Cooperative Corporation scam.

The PML-N had termed the arrest of Butt, who is Nawaz Sharif’s brother-in-law, as “politically motivated and illegal”.

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  • The azadi of adliya that PML-N talks about is not for upholding rule of law but to have its own henchmen become part of the higher judiciary. These appointments pay in the long run and that is what has happened here now

  • Indeed, but it is amazing how they get away with it so shamelessly. The equally azaad media and the equally honest civil society conveniently looks the other way.

  • ‘Sharifs used paper mill to whiten money’ By Azaz Syed Friday, 13 Nov, 2009 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/13+sharifs+accused+of+money+laundering-za-08

    ISLAMABAD: The Musharraf government prepared a money laundering reference against PML-N leaders Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif in 2000 on the basis of a statement recorded by one of their trusted lieutenants, Senator Ishaq Dar, according to a court document seen by Dawn here on Thursday.

    Senator Dar’s handwritten statement, given before a magistrate back on April 25, 2000, had alleged that Sharif brothers used the Hudaibya Paper Mills as cover for money laundering during the late 1990s.

    The reference was prepared on the orders of then president Pervez Musharraf, but it was shelved after the Sharif brothers went into exile in December of the same year.

    The Musharraf government tried to reopen the reference in 2007 after Nawaz Sharif announced his return to the country.

    The confessional statement of Senator Ishaq Dar was recorded before a district magistrate in Lahore. He was brought to the court from a jail by Basharat Shahzad, who was then serving as assistant director in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

    According to legal experts, the senator’s deposition was an `irrevocable statement’ as had been recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

    Senator Ishaq Dar has always been regarded as one of the closest aides of the Sharif family, and is now also a relative as his son is married to Nawaz Sharif’s younger daughter.

    However, the NAB record clearly shows that back in 2000 he had agreed to give a written statement against the Sharifs about their alleged involvement in money laundering.

    The top PML-N leaders had hit a rough patch by then as some of their lieutenants were busy developing a new political system for Gen Pervez Musharraf after his Oct 1999 military coup.

    In the statement, Ishaq Dar accused Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif of money laundering in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.

    At one point in the 43-page statement, Mr Dar said that on the instructions of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, ‘I opened two foreign currency accounts in the name of Sikandara Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi with the foreign currency funds provided by the Sharif family in the Bank of America by signing as Sikandara Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi’.

    He said that all instructions to the bank in the name of these two persons were signed by him under the orders of ‘original depositors’, namely Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif.

    ‘The foreign currency accounts of Nuzhat Gohar and Kashif Masood Qazi were opened in Bank of America by Naeem Mehmood under my instructions (based on instructions of Sharifs) by signing the same as Nuzhat Gohar and Kashif Masood Qazi.’

    The document shows Dar stated that besides these foreign currency accounts, a previously opened foreign currency account of Saeed Ahmed, a former director of First Hajvari Modaraba Co and close friend of Dar, and of Mussa Ghani, the nephew of Dar’s wife, were also used to deposit huge foreign currency funds provided by ‘the Sharif family’ to offer them as collateral to obtain different direct and indirect credit lines.

    Senator Dar had disclosed that the Bank of America, Citibank, Atlas Investment Bank, Al Barka Bank and Al Towfeeq Investment Bank were used under the instructions of the Sharif family.

    Interestingly enough, Ishaq Dar also implicated himself by confessing in court that he — along with his friends Kamal Qureshi and Naeem Mehmood — had opened fake foreign currency accounts in different international banks.

    Mr Dar said an amount of $3.725 million in Emirates Bank, $ 8.539 million in Al Faysal Bank and $2.622 million were later transferred in the accounts of the accounts Hudaibya Paper Mills.

    He said that the entire amount in these banks finally landed in the accounts of the paper mills.

    The Hudaibiya Paper Mills case is still pending in the National Accountability Bureau.
    If it is opened again, the Sharif brothers may be in for a rude shock: a confidant is to blame for the albatross around their necks.

    In this regard Dawn made repeated efforts to contact Senator Dar on telephone, but without luck as his mobile number was switched off and he did not reply to text messages.

    However, a PML-N spokesman Siddiq ul Farooq alleged that the signed statement was extracted from Mr Ishaq Dar under duress.

  • REFERENCE: Rs3 bn loan outstanding since ’98 – Ahsan terms it ‘technical default’, no loan write-off ever sought Sunday, December 20, 2009By Rauf Klasra http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=214283

    ISLAMABAD: A loan of Rs3 billion against the Sharif brothers remains outstanding despite a lapse of about ten years when the physical assets of four industrial units — Ittefaq Foundries, Brothers Steel, Ittefaq Brothers and Ilyas Enterprises — were surrendered to nine lending banks, who haven’t got a penny back since 1998. The Sharif brothers were lauded in the national press in 1998 for surrendering their physical assets to nine banks but in actual terms, these banks did not get a single penny back after one of their (Sharif’s) own directors moved the court and got a stay order against selling of these assets. The stay order in favour of Ittefaq Brothers remains effective till date. Meanwhile, the representatives and legal experts of these nine banks are said to have recently met at Lahore to decide a new course of action to recover the loans from the Sharif brothers who have been shown as “defaulters” of the banks. The National Bank of Pakistan is the worst affected bank with a stuck up loan of Rs1.5 billion. Earlier, in his capacity as Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif in a highly charged televised address to the nation, had announced to surrender all the physical assets of Itefaq Foundries, Brothers Steels, Ittefaq Brothers and Ilyas Enterprises to the nine banks, whom the Sharifs reportedly owed Rs3.09billion. The process of selling the Ittefaq Foundries was stopped when one of the relatives of Sharif Brothers moved an application in the Lahore High Court in 2005 and the matter is still pending with the courts without any payment to the concerned banks.

    According to official documents available with The News, in 1998, the directors of Ittefaq Group offered to surrender these units to settle the claims of all the banks instead of making cash payments to settle their accounts. Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister had then announced to hand over these assets to the Lahore High Court to monitor the sale of assets of his units. The names of directors of Ittefaq Foundries are Mian Tariq Shafi, Mian Javed Shafi, Mian Abbas Shafi, Mian Riaz Miraj, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Mian Yousuf Aziz and Mian Nawaz Sharif. Likewise, the directors of Brothers Steels included Mian Yousuf Aziz, Mian Yahya Siraj, Mrs Nusrat Shahbaz, Mian Naseem Tariq, Mian Memoona Idris, and Hussain Barkat. The directors of Ittefaq Brothers were Mian SHahbaz Sharif, Mian Mohamamd Idris and Mian Pervaiz Shafi.

    According to the official papers, Shahbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif owed bank loan of Rs1.5billion to National Bank of Pakistan, HBL Rs717million, UBL Rs340million, MCB Rs239million, Ist Punjab Mudraba Rs110millino, Bank of Punjab Rs61million, ADBP Rs58million, PICIC Rs17million and ICP Rs8million. The papers reveal that when the assets of these four defaulting units were surrendered to the LHC, in a bid to settle their claims all the banks unanimously agreed to get the court order to this deal. The documents showed that while hearing this application under section 284, the Lahore High Court ordered to constitute a committee comprising 3 members, a representative of banks, a chartered accountant and an advocate being the court representative. The mandate of the committee was to take the possession of the said units of the Ittefaq Group, to protect and preserve their assets and to auction them through court procedure. Under the said committee a bid of Rs2.48billion was received which was about half a billion rupees less than the actual loan money. The bid was submitted to the court in 2005. However, the final court order for auction has not been yet issued till today following the petition filed by some of directors of the Ittefaq Group. In 2006, committee member Iqbal Haider Rehman after his appointment as additional judge Lahore High Court was replaced by Pervaiz Akthar Malik, advocate and Kamran Amin NBP, due to change of his assignment in the banks, was replaced by Mr Salaim Ansar. Now this committee comprised Salim Ansar, Khajwa Abdul Qadir and Pervaiz Akhtar Malik. The official papers show that since filing of the bid of Rs2.48billion with the court in 2005, duly accepted by all the banks and recommended by the committee, the matter was still stuck up at the Lahore High Court for an order and despite all efforts of the committee, no progress has been made. The documents show that several meetings of the creditor banks had been convened by NBP at Lahore where the legal experts other than the dealing councils of the banks were also invited to consider the alternative course of action to expedite this matter. However, legal complications have arisen to such an extent that no concrete solution of the problem could so far be unanimously adopted. Talking to The News, president NBP Ali Raza confirmed that a sum of Rs1.5billion was outstanding against the Sharif brothers as the loan was yet to be settled. He said the physical assets were surrendered by the directors of these units but the court had yet to give its approval to the bidding price of Rs2.4billion obtained in 2005. Talking to The News, PML-N spokesman MNA Ahsan Iqbal said that there was an understanding with the banks in 1998 and the physical assets were handed over to them as part of “settlement”. He said actually the Sharif brothers never got their loans written off and the matter was declared “technical default” after the banks were put under pressure during the second government of PPP to seek the payment of loans prematurely. He said this was a sort of “technical default” and the cases later landed in the court.

  • Justice Sharif’s remarks Dawn Editorial Friday, 02 Jul, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/21-justice-sharifs-remarks-270-sk-08 There is valid concern at the report that the Lahore High Court chief justice, Khwaja Sharif, asked the PPP to quit the Punjab government if the party had objections to the appointment of Rana Maqbool as the provincial secretary prosecution. True, we are no longer living in the era when judges shunned public appearances. Judges these days are far more visible and are often seen to use their person and office to further the cause of justice and reform. But even in a judiciary as active as Pakistan’s, for a sitting chief justice to so openly deride one political party in favour of another is no less than shocking. The question of Rana Maqbool’s background is another matter altogether. A much bigger issue at the heart of the controversy, emanating from Justice Sharif’s remarks in Hafizabad on Wednesday, relates to the polarisation in the country and to the fear that this polarisation may have affected the judiciary as well.

  • Tactless remarks Dawn Editorial Thursday, 18 Mar, 2010
    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/14-tactless-remarks-830-zj-10s BARELY days after the Punjab chief minister was caught playing to the Taliban gallery, another high official from the province is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. This time, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Khawaja Mohammad Sharif has sparked outrage for reportedly saying that Hindus were responsible for financing acts of terrorism in Pakistan. The remarks came while the judge was hearing two identical petitions against the possible extradition of Afghan Taliban suspects. It may well have been a slip of the tongue by Mr Sharif, who might have mistakenly said ‘Hindu’ instead of ‘India’ — nevertheless it was a tasteless remark to say the least.

  • چیئرمین نیب کی تقرری متنازعہ بنتی جا رہی ہے اور لاہور ہائی کورٹ میں اُسے چیلینج بھی کیا گیا ہے۔ جس پر بابر اعوان کہتے ہیں کہ وفاقی سیکرٹری قانون ہوں یا چیئرمین نیب ان کی تقرریوں سمیت ہر اہم معاملہ صرف لاہور ہائی کورٹ میں ہی کیوں چیلنج ہوتا ہے؟

    Faisal Raza Abidi Crushed PML-N Leader Khuwaja Saad Rafiq & Exposed CJ Lahore High Court http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRPJS6bIHPk&feature=related

  • Enjoy the Videos

    Quite interesting news is as under about Senator Saifur Rehman after 12 Oct 1999 Pakistan Army Mutiny against the Elected Government of Mian Nawaz Sharif. Saif touches Asif’s knees, begs pardon – April 7: Saifur Rehman, the former chief of the Ehtesab Bureau, touches the knees of

    Asif Zardari to express regret and apology. “I know you are very angry with me for the excesses I committed against you, but I ask your forgiveness,” Saifur Rehman said as he entered the Accountability Court I in Rawalpindi, where Mr Zardari was sitting, surrounded by friends and newsmen, after a hearing in the Pakistan Steel Mills reference. Senator Saifur Rehman (PML-N) VS Jang Group of Newspapers. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2009/11/senator-saifur-rehman-pml-n-vs-jang.html

  • @ Aamir: They are a shameless bunch but they have the media and judiciary on their side, so despite the fallacy of their statements the media relays them as victors.

    Look at the situation of Punjab. Police atrocities are at peak, doctors on strike, judges and lawyers fighting each other, increasing suicide bombings and increasing debt.

    This is despite the fact that it has a more stable infrastructure as compared to other provinces, a higher literacy rate and abundant resources.

    Faced with slight media criticism, we can all remember how PML-N reacted. Its not gonna last, I assure you.

  • RECOVERY OF HUGE SUM AMOUNT: There are news in the newspaper and media that Sharif family and even the wife of present Prime Minister owed billions of loan from different banks and the same is still outstanding. This is not an ordinary matter. To my view why a grave laxity has been shown by the concerned authorities in not nabbing these people who are involved in public fund, so as to haul them. This is certainly a cause of anguish. Although the judiciary is taking steps and suo moto notices on different important matters, yet I may request to the chief Justice of Pakistan to ask the concerned authorities to take immediate action for the recovery of billions of ruppes from these defaulters. Shame on Nawaz Sharif family and even on family of Prime Minister.