Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday formed a special cell for the constitution of a six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe Sharif family’s alleged corruption in the Panama Papers case.
The special cell, which will work as a liaison office between the JIT and a special bench of the apex court, will be headed by the top court’s Additional Registrar Muhammad Ali, sources told The Express Tribune.
Sources further said there’s been a delay in the formation of the JIT as the apex court has expressed concern over the name of a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) official recommended for inclusion in the six-member investigation team.
The sources, however, said the apex court may notify the JIT later in the day. “The court is also reviewing names of officials sent by Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence.”
In its April 20 judgment, the apex court had ordered the formation of the JIT to probe offshore assets of the prime minister and his two sons. The JIT, according to the court ruling, would comprise representatives from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), FIA as well as officials from the MI and ISI.
The JIT shall submit biweekly reports before a special bench – a request for its formation is part of the judgement. It has also been given a sixty-day deadline to file its final report.
It is rare and unprecedented that a sitting prime minister would be quizzed by officials from civil and military institutions for his offshore companies. The premier has all along denied any wrongdoing since the scandal first surfaced when documents from a Panamanian legal firm was leaked by a consortium of international investigative journalists in April last year.
Although the majority of judges ruled against Premier Sharif’s sacking, the 545-page ruling did raise serious questions about the failure of the prime minister and his legal team to justify his family’s offshore holdings.
Credit: Express Tribune