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PML-N preparing ground for judicial commission

Updated Apr 19, 2017 07:54pm


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ISLAMABAD: While attention was focused on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s activities in London on Friday, Ishaq Dar spearheaded his party’s efforts in Islamabad to prepare the ground for a judicial commission to investigate the Panama leaks.

The PML-N persisted in its efforts to reach out to political players and contact retired judges to head the commission.

Mushahidullah Khan, a PML-N senator, confirmed that he and Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid had met ally Mahmoud Achakzai, chief of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), for consultations on the matter. According to him, Mr Achakzai was on the same page as the government.

Television channels reported in the evening that Sarmad Jalal Osmany, a retired judge, had accepted the responsibility of heading a commission that would investigate the scandal. However, no one from the government was willing to confirm this on record.

One PML-N legislator, who was present in the meeting held at the Prime Minister Office on Thursday, said that Osmany’s name was on the list prepared by the government; the list consists of retired judges who could, and have been, approached to head the proposed commission.

In addition, Dawn has learnt that the government’s legal experts will be meeting Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday to discuss the issue. Dar is expected to meet Law Minister Zahid Hamid, Information Technology Minister Anusha Rehman, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Law Barrister Zafarullah Khan and others.

A government delegation, including Zafarullah Khan and Attorney General Aushtar Ausaf, is expected to meet the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Ali Zafar, to discuss the issue.

“Yes, the government team is coming to discuss the situation arising out of the Panama Paper leaks. I will also be meeting the vice chairman of PTI, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who too wants to talk about the matter,” Mr Zafar told Dawn.

The government’s decision to enlist Zafarullah Khan might have been prompted by a snub it got from the SCBA when its executive committee opposed the formation of a commission consisting of sitting or retired judges.

The committee felt that such commissions had invariably turned out to be ineffective, warning that the current one would not be different.

“This was also not a case for the exercise of suo motu jurisdiction as courts are not an investigating agency,” Zafar emphasised.

OTHER HURDLES: But opposition from the legal community is not the only element that is turning out to be a hurdle for the government.

First and foremost, the final decision in this matter will have to be taken by the prime minister.

Second, the opposition is not ready to accept a commission headed by a retired judge.   

PTI Information Secretary Naeemul Haq said that although he had great respect for Justice Osmany, the PTI would not accept anything other than a commission headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan.

It is noteworthy that the chief justice has obliquely expressed his unwillingness to become part of the commission during a hearing. Without mentioning the issue, he observed that the responsibility to conduct investigations rests with the executive, and not the judiciary.

The PPP, too, appears to be in no mood to accept a retired judge.

“A retired judge will be influenced by the government,” commented Naveed Qamar, a senior PPP leader. He added that his party wanted a serving judge to head the commission. Other party leaders have insisted on a joint parliamentary committee to investigate the matter.

However, the Dar-led government team is keeping all options open by reaching out to retired judges in an attempt to persuade them to head the commission.

In fact, Dawn has learnt that some members of the ruling party have advised the government to simply announce the formation of a commission, headed by a retired judge.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2016


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Comments (33) Closed

Nadeem Apr 16, 2016 07:30am

Why retired judges? Why not FIA / NAB, or serving SC judges? PMLN must stop drama as it's a simple question of establishing the money trail...

Nadeem Apr 16, 2016 07:32am

You will see that the whole govt machinery is busy saving Sharif family now...They don't care what else is happening in the country.

miristan Apr 16, 2016 08:56am

Please look into international Banking investigation company. This affair has to come clean. Do not doge the Issue , This affair can grow very big.

miristan Apr 16, 2016 09:06am

How much time will given to complete the probe? Nawaz cannot hold the office during the probe time. People of Pakistan are at the end of the rope. No more corruption,Period.

M. Malik Apr 16, 2016 09:37am

This drama of 'preparation' and 'contacting retired judges' will continue for several weeks and months, to delay and to tire the public, until they give up, and their attention is diverted to something more urgent and current.

Move on Pakistan. This party will never accede to public outcry, and is actively looking for ways to cover up. They will complete their term, and prepare for next election. Unless IK can muster enough support, I expect PML-N and PPP be returned back to power! Mashallah! Only in Pakistan can the status quo continue.

Skeptic Apr 16, 2016 09:45am

In the U.S or UK, the investigation would have been already underway instead of these bureaucratic meetings, discussions and consultations with dozens of parties...

The whole affair stinks. I am so glad I left the country decades ago. Nothing happens in Pakistan with any predictability and regularly - except for Fashion Shows and corruption.

Faisal Bajwa Apr 16, 2016 10:05am

Nixen got impeached for a micro scandal compared to our PM's mega corruption scam and we can't find a desk that can probe the mess he is in. Is there any one out there whom we could say thank you to?

miristan Apr 16, 2016 10:10am

This is truth and facts that Pakistan's P M and his family owns property and companies worth millions of pounds. This is not a crime to own a property. But to verify source of money used for buying this property. This money must have been transferred through commercial banks. As family has no business in UK,This money could be gift from Saudi Arabia. There must be some Bank transfers, just to find out that money was legal and tax was paid. You do not need a judicial commission to investigate.

Nizamuddin Ahmad Aali Apr 16, 2016 10:21am

There is nothing to investigate. The monies were stolen from the Republic. Why are we wasting time. Every one on the streets of Pakistan knows how to retrieve the money. Do we have will as a nation to do it.

Nizamuddin Ahmad Aali Apr 16, 2016 10:24am

For God sake London should be left for Londoners. Islamabad is our capital and the fat cats of Pakistan should stay there and conduct the state business in Islamabad. By the way who is paying for Londin hotels and air travel.

kashif Apr 16, 2016 10:41am

old tactics by the govt. what is the problem, if commission headed by the sitting chief justice&assisted by the international forensic expert?? any one can smell the rat here------

Kamal Pasha. Apr 16, 2016 10:48am

Judicial Commission is being formed by PML(N) to investigate their own Prime Minister and his family members. What a decision.

Ahmed Apr 16, 2016 11:11am

Commission of a " retired " judge to find what ? Panama Leaks are documentary proof of Nawaz Sharif' s and his family billions of $$$$$ in off shore companies. Nawaz Sharif must resign first and then prove that he is clean to hold office.

Hamid shafiq Apr 16, 2016 11:12am

if they do then why the time waste at media for PM defense on that issue.

Taimur Malik Apr 16, 2016 11:36am

PML N most corrupt along with PPP. We need Imran Khan to run our country.

Gramscian Apr 16, 2016 12:08pm

Any commission, no matter how powerful, will be useless as history of commissions in Pakistan suggests.

I don't understand need for a commission. Sharifs should make record of their financial dealings & transactions public like David Cameron & answer questions about the money trail.

skhan Apr 16, 2016 03:15pm

You can fool some people for all time and can make all foòl for some time but can't make all people full all the time. onus is on majority punjab people to decide

berni Apr 16, 2016 03:35pm

Despite all the differences, there's a consensus on a commission,

Merchant Apr 16, 2016 04:06pm

History tells us that Commissions are a complete waste of time in Pakistan. A corrupt ruler is going to dictate the commission what to do and this is what Nawaz and Family going to do.

Iftikhar Husain Apr 16, 2016 04:22pm

Judicial inquary will not solve the problem because it is more serious and must be investigated by sme foriegm firm who specialise in such frauds. It should be paid and conducted by the state.

Shahid Apr 16, 2016 04:46pm

Pakistani awam have already lost and they do not even know or realize how great their loss is. Rulers have made sure of that. It is shame that not so truthful rule and play their dirty games in the name of governance. Poor awam die hungry and sick by drinking and breathing dirty and polluted water and air. But if and when something questionable surfaces, their ready way out is London yatra till the dirt settles. How long this saga will continue? It is up to awam. They can put an end to it right now; commission or not. And they must for the sake of this beautiful country where they are destined to live as awam.

Bonkers Apr 16, 2016 05:00pm

Do not blame these politicians. The people of Pakistan voted them in. If Pakistan were a true democracy- the PM would have resigned by now pending an investigation. Instead, the entire PML-N is busy defending the "King's" family.

Democracy is dead! Long Live the King!!

Omar Apr 16, 2016 05:11pm

Govt. of Pakistan limited.-------- Established London,Dubai,Islamabad.

Ali Apr 16, 2016 05:28pm

We don;t want a fake probe drama.

Pass on this case to international community. This should be probed by both UN and Scotland Yard.

Truth Apr 16, 2016 06:11pm

A great saying by Bob Marley "You can fool some people sometime, but you can't fool all the people all the time.

excalibur Apr 16, 2016 07:20pm

arrogance of the govt to think it can set up a commission ubder a retd judge unilaterally and proceed like the Commission on model town case

Javed Apr 16, 2016 09:41pm

@Faisal Bajwa you are right about Nixon being impeached for something far less significant, with one Big difference, he was not the Chief Executive of Pakistan!

Law of Cause and Effect Apr 17, 2016 12:09am

Has any Commission ever succeeded to get to the bottom of things?

Commissions are time wasters.

Pakistani Apr 17, 2016 01:18am

How would a judicial commission question laws of an offshore country, which basically operates for the very reason not to compromise your accounts.

Dr.Asif Apr 17, 2016 02:33am

People will forget in few months and Nawaz or Zardari will be in power again. Pakistan zindabaad.

Zaheer Apr 17, 2016 06:44am

look how big, sophisticated and experienced machinery they build and have to save themselves and how illiterate and poor people will fight against them and their machinery

Zaheer Apr 17, 2016 06:48am

They have everything at their disposal and look what poor people have. Poverty, joblessness, malnutrition, exploitation, everyday insult. What a contrast and still a claims am Respectable nation

Zubair Apr 17, 2016 08:47am

@miristan don't pull Saudi Arabia into every matter, and yes the trail of the money is needs to be find out from where it come from and for this yes a right commission is needed, mostly likely from corruption