Classifieds powered by Gulf News

Pakistan court sets up Panama Papers probe team

Special panel to probe assets owned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children

Image Credit: Supplied
Maryam Nawaz
Gulf News

Islamabad: A three-member special bench of Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday started the process of constituting a team of officers drawn from various state institutions to investigate assets owned by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children.

The move is in accordance with the April 20 verdict in the Panama leaks case.

The bench, which will supervise implementation of the Panama case verdict, rejected nominations submitted by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) for a Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

It summoned the SBP governor and SECP chairman to appear before it, at the next hearing on Friday, and bring with them lists of all Grade-18 officers within their institutions for the bench to select members for the JIT.

The six-member JIT being set up by the bench will be led by a senior officer of the Federal Investigation Agency and include officers from the National Accountability Bureau, Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence.

The special bench is headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and incudes Justice Shaikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsen — the three judges who gave the majority 3-2 verdict announced by five-judge bench that had heard the Panama leaks case.

Two dissenting judges had ruled that the prime minister was not honest and trustworthy and should be disqualified from membership of the parliament.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan said: “We want neutral and transparent investigations; we want members of the JIT to be honest and competent.”

He observed that the nominations received from SBP and SECP did not fulfil the criteria set by the court.

Justice Shaikh Azmat Saeed said, “No one will be allowed to play games with the court.”

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan said the court would not stand any excuses or delays during the implementation of its orders.

According to the April 20 verdict, the JIT is expected to submit its report to the court within 60 days of the start of its probe, and furnish periodical reports every two weeks.