ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, in a National Assembly session on Thursday, demanded a judicial commission under the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) to probe Panama Papers.
"We demand an empowered commission under the chief justice of Pakistan, if the commission is not empowered, then there is no benefit of having one (judicial commission)," said Imran while addressing the chair in the assembly.
"We will not let this issue be shoved under the carpet."
He added that since he was an elected representative of the public, it is his responsibility to represent the Pakistani people and provide them answers to the questions they have raised.
"If our demand of an empowered commission is not met, then we will have no other option but to come out on the streets," warned Imran.
We will not march onto D-Chowk, this time we will march onto Raiwind, said Imran.
"If we do come out on the streets, then do not say that we are against democracy, as a democratic system dictates that a fair and empowered commission is formed to probe the allegations," elaborated the chief of PTI.
Imran also said if the new judicial commission is formed, one which is agreeable to both the incumbent government and the opposition, he should be the first to be probed by the commission.
'Not troublesome for the ruling PML-N'
Earlier this week, the PTI had decided to raise in the National Assembly the issue of Panama Papers revelations.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi had told newsmen after a meeting presided over by the PTI chairman that Imran Khan would present the party’s stance in the house.
He had said the leaked documents appeared to be genuine because journalists all over the country had declared them as correct. “The nation wants accountability of a certain class in Pakistan. We support it even if it starts from our party,” he added.
He had also stated that the PTI had decided to set up a committee of experts to look into legal aspects of offshore companies and how they deal with the money. The committee would submit its report to the party which would work out its strategy on the basis of its recommendations.
However, legal experts believe that the revelations made thus far do not look to be too troublesome for the ruling PML-N.
Experts are of the opinion that even in the face of these disclosures, the papers prove almost no illegality on the part of the Sharif family or others implicated in the leak.
The data leak has revealed financial wheelings and dealings of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family, among dozens of others, including world leaders.
The data from the Panama Papers, available on the website of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — one of around 100 news organisations and 300 journalists that worked on mining the data simultaneously — also reveals the offshore holdings of members of Prime Minister Sharif’s family.
According to documents available on the ICIJ website, the PM’s children Mariam, Hasan and Hussain “were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several companies”.
Mariam is described as “the owner of British Virgin Islands-based firms Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, incorporated in 1994 and 1993”.
On one of the documents released by ICIJ, the address listed for Nielsen Enterprises is Saroor Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The document, dated June 2012, describes Mariam Safdar as the ‘beneficial owner’.
According to ICIJ, “Hussain and Mariam signed a document dated June 2007 that was part of a series of transactions in which Deutsche Bank Geneva lent up to $13.8 million to Nescoll, Nielsen and another company, with their London properties as collateral.”
Hasan Nawaz Sharif is described as “the sole director of Hangon Property Holdings Limited incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in February 2007, which acquired Liberia-based firm Cascon Holdings Establishment Limited for about $11.2 million in August 2007”.
But the papers are not necessarily evidence of wrongdoing. According to The Guardian, using offshore structures is entirely legal.