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.
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.”
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.
“The apex court does not require either party’s approval to form a commission,” the CJP remarked.
PTI’s main legal representative Naeem Bukhari also 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.
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 to form a judicial commission.
We will not let nation forget about Panamagate: Khan
Chairman PTI Imran Khan said on Friday that the Supreme Court’s larger bench must continue hearing the Panamagate case since it got an understanding of it.
“PTI has complete faith in the Supreme Court,” said Chairman PTI while lauding the top court performance in the case so far.
“We will not let nation forget about this corruption scandal,” Khan told PML-N in a clear message.
Rejecting a judicial commission on the infamous case, Chairman PTI said, “The people of Pakistan have been counting on the apex court for the last eight months” to get a breakthrough in the case.
Congratulating Justice Saqib Nisar on his appoint as the new CJP, Khan said it was now his responsibility to do justice with the case.
The entire PTI leadership maintained that there was no need to form a commission now when the court could give a verdict in the case on the basis of evidence provided.
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.