PTI rejects proposal for Panamagate probe commissiond

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has chosen the Supreme Court over a judicial commission, saying the apex court had offered “inquisitorial justice instead of adversarial proceedings” at the onset of the hearings on October 17 in the Panamagate case.

The apex court is currently hearing a slew of petitions, including those filed by the PTI in the wake of the Panama Papers, which revealed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children were among those influential people from around the world who had stashed money in offshore companies.

During the last hearing of the case on Wednesday, the SC gave the PTI and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz two options – either to go for the formation of a fact-finding judicial commission for in-depth investigations or to continue with the five-judge bench currently hearing the case.

The PTI had sought time from the court to deliberate on the proposal.

However, after marathon deliberations on Thursday, the PTI announced that it would seek adjudication of the Panamagate case by the SC’s larger bench as there is no need to form a judicial commission to probe the ‘almost decided’ case.

“Following consultation within the party, we are of the opinion that there is no need to form a commission, as the larger bench is capable and competent enough to decide the case,” PTI chief Imran Khan announced after chairing the final consultative meeting with his political aides and legal team.

Imran said sufficient evidence was available and every aspect of the case was clear and in clear view of the larger bench. “The PTI will request the court to hold day-to-day hearings to decide the matter at the earliest as the whole country has come to a virtual standstill due to the pending case,” he said.

Flanked by senior party leaders and the AML chief Sheikh Rashid, Imran in reply to a question said the PTI trusted the SC bench and would accept its decision.

“The PTI opted for initiation of case in the court rather than protesting on streets after the larger bench observed on its first hearing that it would make Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif answerable by conducting inquisitorial rather adversarial proceedings,” he said.

He said on the first day of the hearing the judges also observed that court would ensure an early decision into the case to steer the country out of prevailing impasse. The court at that time also quoted the example of second caliph Hazrat Umar (RA) who was made answerable by an ordinary person, he added.

“Following these observations, the PTI announced it would call off its planned November 2 lockdown of the federal capital and decided to take the matter to the Supreme Court,” he added.

Imran said after the last hearing on Dec 7, the PTI was of the view that it had won the case as Nawaz Sharif’s lead counsel miserably failed to produce evidence to substantiate the money trail of the Sharif family’s wealth.

“Sharif’s counsel admitted that the PM’s speech in parliament, where he claimed that the family had all the documents to justify their businesses, was a mere political statement,” he said, adding that the PM had ‘lied’ to the nation and parliament. The Constitution clearly states when an elected representative commits perjury he stands disqualified from his position.

“The PM’s speech to the parliament was not extempore but carefully written on a piece of paper,” he said quoting examples of US presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton who, according to Imran, faced dire consequences for their lies.

“Morality demands that the PM should resign,” he said adding that within his party there was not even a single individual who favoured formation of commission as ‘facts’ were pretty much clear.