Supreme Court Justice Asif Saeed Khosa started the court’s announcement of its verdict on the Panama Papers case shortly after 12:00pm.
Apologising for the delay, he gave the podium to Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who headed the apex court’s implementation bench following its April 20 order on the case.
Justice Khan said the bench had recommended that all material collected by the JIT would be sent to an accountability court within six weeks, and that cases would be opened against Captain Muhammad Safdar, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz as well as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. A judgement should be announced within 30 days, he said
The prime minister was additionally disqualified from holding his office. The judges ruled that the prime minister had been dishonest to parliament and the courts and could not be deemed fit for his office.
The judgement was unanimous, with all judges agreeing to the verdict.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday warned against any tinkering with Article 35(A) of the constitution that is being debated in the Supreme Court and which empowers the state legislature to define “permanent residents” and accord special rights and privileges to them.
Strongly defending the constitutional clause, Mehbooba said that any change in its status would invite repercussions and mean that nobody would be able to protect the Indian national flag in Jammu and Kashmir.
She said that mainstream parties like the National Conference and her own Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) risk their workers’ lives who stand up and carry the tricolour in Kashmir.
“Any tinkering with the article won’t be acceptable. I won’t hesitate in saying that nobody will even carry the corpse of the National Flag in Kashmir (if the article is scrapped). Let me make it very clear,” she said at an event here on Kashmir.
The Chief Minister said that by employing such tactics, “you are not targeting separatists who have an agenda to secede but you are weakening the forces who have accepted India, participated in elections. They make efforts to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with India with respect and dignity. You are weakening them.”
The Article 35(A) is being challenged in the Supreme Court by NGO ‘We The Citizens’ on its legal basis because the article was never presented before the Parliament and executed on the orders of President of India.
The provision was implemented in 1954 when then President Rajendra Prasad used the powers conferred on him by Article 370 to introduce the “Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954”.
Under the article, citizens from other parts of the country cannot acquire immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir or take up employment with the state government.
The Supreme Court has now referred the case to a three-judge bench for a larger debate over it.
Government on Friday imposed “undeclared” restrictions in parts of Old City in Srinagar to thwart protests called by the resistance leadership.
Dr Farooq Lone, DC Srinagar informed us that the restrictions have been imposed in downtown areas under section 144. “It bars the assembly of four or more persons falling under the restricted areas.”
Although, the Deputy Commissioner would issue a statement about the restrictions a day ahead, it was not the case this Friday.
Pertinently, for the last five Fridays, government has not allowed congregational Friday prayers in the historic Jamia mosque. The move has drawn flak from various quarters terming it direct interference in religious matters.
On Thursday a meeting of Ulema and Imam’s of various mosques was held at Mirwaiz Manzil in Srinagar. A unanimous resolution was passed in the meeting terming the continuous lockdown of the Jamia Masjid by authorities as unacceptable and “direct interference in religious affairs.”
“Imposing strict curbs in Downtown areas on every Friday to prevent people from reaching to the grand masjid, caging Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is highly condemnable. Government must refrain from such an anti-Islam practice and ensure people are allowed to offer prayers at Jamia from now onwards,” the resolution read.
Addressing the participants over phone, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Kashmir’s head priest and Hurriyat (m) chairperson said: “It has become a regular affair of the government and its forces that on every Friday entire Downtown is turned into a military zone, all roads sealed with barbed wires and gates of Jamia Masjid locked? It’s high time we rise to an occasion to condemn this direct interference in religious affairs,” he said. (Kashmir Life).