ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan resumed the infamous Panamagate case hearing on Friday and declared that instead of a judicial commission, the top court would continue the legal proceedings against the defendants in the case.
The decision came a day after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Awami Muslim League (AML) rejected a judicial commission proposed by the top court for probing the high-profile scandal.
“The court will continue hearing the Panamagate case since there is no consensus on the formation of a judicial commission,” said Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali announced after briefly hearing the arguments.
The court adjourned the case until the first week of January, 2017.
Since CJP Jamali is going to retire by the year end, a new bench led by the incoming chief justice, Justice Saqib Nisar will now take up the case next year where it has been left today.
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PTI’s main legal representative Naeem Bukhari clarified that if a judicial commission was formed, Tehreek-i-Insaf would boycott it.
Leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) criticised Bukhari on issuing such a remark, what they termed a contempt of court.
Lawyer Akram Sheikh, representing Prime Minister’s children in the case, maintained Nawaz Sharif was not directly named in the case and said, “His clients have no objection to having a judicial commission in the case.”
“PTI has complete faith in the Supreme Court,” said Chairman PTI Imran Khan.
Giving his point of view on the judicial commission, PTI’s Secretary General Jahangir Tareen said, “There is no need to form a commission now when the court can give a verdict in the case on the basis of evidence provided.”
“PTI was demanding a judicial commission under the supervision of an SC judge earlier, but now it wants the larger bench to work as a commission,” PTI’s leader Arif Alvi argued.
AML Chief Sheikh Rasheed also opposed the SC commission says, previous all commissions in Pakistan, instead of producing required results, failed to satisfy the people, particularly on issues of national interest.
Earlier this week, the apex court had sought suggestions from PTI as petitioners and the Sharif family as defendants of the case.
THE PANAMAGATE SCANDAL
Names of several Pakistanis including Nawaz Sharif’s children Maryam, Hussain, and Hasan surfaced in one of the world’s biggest ever data leaks through an online searchable database made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in April 2016, following which the prime minister had formed an inquiry commission to probe his family’s alleged links to offshore accounts.
Unfortunately, the federal government and the opposition could not agree on drafting joint Terms of References (ToRs).
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also failed to probe the high-profile case.
The PTI later in November threatened to hold a sit-in in Islamabad which was later changed into a ‘celebratory’ rally when the Supreme Court intervened.