ISLAMABAD: (APS)MAY 13,2016 – Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Anwar Zaheer Jamali has refused to form a judicial commission to probe allegations leveled in the Panama Papers against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family, APS News reported on Friday.
In this regard, SC Registrar Arbab Muhammad Arif has forwarded a letter to the Secretary of Ministry of Law & Justice.
The letter states: “Formation of Commission of Inquiry under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act 1956 (Act VI of 1956), looking to its limited scope, will result in the constitution of a toothless Commission, which will serve no useful purpose, except giving bad name to it.”
“The terms of reference incorporated in the attached Notification are so wide and open ended that, prima facie, it may take years together for Commission to conclude its proceedings, Therefore, before forming any opinion as to the formation of requisite Commission of inquiry or otherwise, it is necessary to have the list of all individuals, families, groups, companies etc, with their total number alongwith some relevant particulars against whom purported inquiry proceedings are to be held under paragraph no. 1 (a) & (b) of the terms of reference,” it added.
The SC Registrar further stated that no final response can be furnished to the government’s letter unless the issue of formation of Commission under some proper legislation “is considered and resolved.”
It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced to probe into the revelations contained in the Panama Papers, which claim his children owned London property through an offshore company.
Sharif bowed to opposition demands for a Supreme Court appointed inquiry commission and said he would resign if it found wrongdoing.
In this regard, the government wrote a letter to the Supreme Court Chief Justice to form a commission, however, the process has lingered on due to deadlock between government and the opposition parties regarding terms of references (ToRs) for the commission.
Leaked documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama last month showed Nawaz Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain, and daughter Maryam, owned at least three offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which studied the papers, said those companies had engaged in at least $25 million in property and acquisition deals.
Sharif has said his children have done nothing illegal, but opponents accuse the family of using the tax haven to launder stolen money and dodge taxes.