ISLAMABAD: Hours after swearing-in as the 25th chief Justice of Pakistan on Saturday, Justice Saqib Nisar formed a five-member larger bench comprising Supreme Court judges to hear the Panamagate Leaks Case, keeping him aloof from the case.
The SC bench would resume the hearing of the infamous case under the supervision of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa from January 4 next year.
The new Panamagate bench includes Justice Azmat Saeed, Justice Ijaz Afzal, Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Hasan.
According to sources, Justice Amir Hani Muslim was not made part of the new bench, ARY News reported.
Since the former CJP Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali was retiring at the year-end, the top court had adjourned the Panamagate case hearing on December 9 until next year, saying a new bench would take up the case next year where it has been left.
Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan was disappointed with the previous bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Jamali because they did not finish the case despite almost completing the task.
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 had said to hold a sit-in in Islamabad on November 2 which was later changed into a ‘celebratory’ rally after the Supreme Court of Pakistan intervened and began hearing the case.