Justice Khosa excuses himself from Hudaibiya case bench

Justice Khosa excuses himself from Hudaibiya case bench

Recapping his verdict in the case, Justice Khosa said, "Ishaq Dar was an accused in the case, then he turned into an approver".

Saqib Nisar had formed a three-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa that also included Justice Dost Mohammad and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel over Hudaibiya Papers Mills case. 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".

The Supreme Court bench that was to hear the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) appeal against the decision of the Lahore High Court quashing the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif family was dissolved on Monday after Justice Asif Saeed Khosa recused himself. As the hearing began, Justice Khosa remarked that the case has been put in front of him due to the office mistake as he had already given verdict in the Panama Papers case.

During the hearing, the NAB prosecutor requested that the case should be taken up next week after the formation of a new bench. Justice Khosa however said that constitution of the new bench and fixation of the date for hearing was the prerogative of the Chief Justice of the supreme court.

NAB had argued in its appeal that the 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.

It had said when the Panamagate joint investigating team (JIT) formed to probe corruption allegations against the Sharif family in the long-drawn case had collected further incriminating evidence relating to Hudaibiya Paper Mills, "NAB cannot be debarred/restrained from proceeding further with the investigation".

Based on the recommendation, the SC in its July 28 verdict in the Panamagate case had asked the bureau to reopen the case while it filed references in other cases.

The judge also said that the reference was quashed by then LHC because in the investigation, the Sharifs had not been associated and Dar's confessional statement had been made before a magistrate and not before the trial court.

The reference was afterwards dismissed by LHC on March 11, 2014 in response to a writ petition filed in 2011, stating that Dar was pressurized to record the statement.

Ousted PM Nawaz Sharif, his brother and Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Mian Muhammad Abbas Sharif (late), Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz, Mrs Shamim Akhtar and Mrs Sabiha Abbass, Mrs Maryam Safdar, Federation of Pakistan and Judge Accountability Court No IV Rawalpindi had been made in the appeal as respondents. Later, NAB had decided not to challenge the high court's decision.