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Top court takes notice of Pakistanis named in Panama Papers

ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan on Thursday served notices to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Government on a petition seeking investigation against 436 Pakistani nationals named in the Panama Papers.

A two-member bench, headed by Justice Ijaz Afzal and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqir, heard the petition filed by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Chief Siraj ul Haq.

At the outset of supreme court proceedings, Haq’s counsel Tariq Asad presented his arguments.

The petitioner’s counsel said investigation against Pakistani nationals named in the Panama Papers was indispensable to uproot the menace of corruption.

The JI chief, in his petition, has adopted a stance that Pakistan was making supreme sacrifices in the war against terrorism but the government officials, politicians, and business executives were making investments in offshore tax havens through illegal means.

To which, Justice Ijaz Afzal remarked that it was National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s task to determine whether these individuals possess assets beyond known sources of income or not.

The court could not make an assessment of it, he ruled.

The JI chief, in his petition, had requested the top court to order five respondents — the federal government through the parliamentary affairs ministry, secretaries of law and justice, finance and cabinet division and the NAB — to arrest all those who had invested ‘stolen money’ in offshore companies and bring the public money back to the country.

“The corruption from country could not be eliminated with court proceedings against few, this needs a nationwide anti-corruption policy,” he noted.

The court then served notices to NAB and federal government while seeking a reply on the matter. The court then adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.



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