Justice Asif Saeed Khosa refuses to hear Hudaibya case

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As the hearing commenced today, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said that he has already spoken his mind in Panama Papers case and it will be inappropriate for him to adjudicate the case.

Justice Khosa said the registrar should not have presented the case in front of the bench.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa recused himself on Monday from a three-judge bench constituted to hear the trial regarding National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) plea to reopen Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif family.

The decision of closing Hudaibiya case was taken by NAB authorities on the grounds that earlier in October 2011, a Rawalpindi division bench of the LHC restrained the accountability court from proceeding in the matter after Nawaz Sharif and members of his family challenged the revival of the references and requested the court to quash the cases.

He observed further that he had written 14 paras on the Hudaibiya case in the April 20 judgment of the Panama case, adding that he had observed to reopen the case in his judgment and ordered NAB to reopen the case.

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In his April 10 judgement, Justice Khosa's 192-page note had directed NAB to proceed against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in connection with the Hudabiya Paper Mills reference case wherein he was not an accused person when the said reference was quashed by the LHC, which also barred re-investigation and set aside Dar's confessional statement. Justice Khosa was to head the bench, which also consisted of Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.

The NAB pleaded with the court to set the hearing next week. If the SC accepts NAB's plea to reopen the case, it would put Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, their mother Shamim Akhtar, Maryam Safdar, Hussain Nawaz and Hamza Shahbaz in the dock when other corruption references against majority are already in motion in the accountability courts. The matter was referred to a referee judge, who held that a reinvestigation was not permissible because it would mean providing NAB another opportunity to shore up the lacunas in their case to victimise the Sharifs.

If NAB manages to convince the Supreme Court to accept its appeal, it will mean resurrecting Reference No. 5 of 2000 and filing it before the accountability court concerned for a final decision.

The Sharif family had earlier made a decision to challenge the bench of the Apex court formed for hearing the NAB appeal seeking reopening of the Hudaibiya papers mills reference. The purported laundered money, shown as share deposit equity of Hudaibiya Mills, was used to retire the liabilities of the mill and other allied companies of the group amounting to Rs 642.7 million.

Dar had claimed that he had made the "confession" in duress and disowned the statement.

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