Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday clarified a statement attributed to him a day earlier regarding the Panama Papers joint investigation team (JIT), stating that he had in fact referred to an inquiry committee formed to investigate the so-called Dawn Leaks matter.
Yesterday, during the hearing of a case concerning fake accounts, Justice Nisar was quoted by media as saying that intelligence services officials included in the Panama Papers JIT had been included on the behest of Chaudhry Nisar.
He clarified today that he had been referring to the team formed on the recommendation of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar to investigate the 'Dawn Leaks' issue.
"I may have made a mistake," he remarked during a hearing. "I meant the Dawn Leaks JIT."
It emerged that the Military Intelligence and Inter-Services Intelligence personnel who had been on the Dawn Leaks inquiry committee had also been on the Panama Papers JIT, and that the chief justice had made an observation to this effect in court yesterday while noting that the then prime minister (Nawaz Sharif) and interior minister (Chaudhry Nisar) had themselves recommended those officials' inclusion in the first instance.
Chaudhry Nisar had issued a statement yesterday denying any involvement in the formation of the JIT for the Panama Papers case and noting that it had been formed on the orders of the Supreme Court bench that was hearing the case.
He had added that including military officials in the JIT was solely the bench's decision.
During today's hearing of the case, the chief justice took the reporters of a prominent media house to task for the mix-up, saying that they seemed to have misreported his comments.
He also warned that if reporters were not careful in the future, he would be forced to stop them from covering court news.
At this point, the reporters in question offered an apology, after which the CJP dropped the matter.
Today's statement was the third from the top court in relation to the inclusion of intelligence officials in a probe team.
On Monday, the apex court had hinted at appointing a high-powered JIT in a fake accounts case it is hearing, but said it would exclude representation from the Inter-Services Intelligence or Military Intelligence. It had said that maybe the members from these agencies had been included in the Panama Papers JIT to "add spice" to the probe.