SC constitutes special bench ‘for implementation of order’ in Panama case

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday announced to constitute a three-member special bench in view of the implementation of order in the Panama Papers case, according to a notification.

The three-member bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan would include Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

The bench would commence the hearing of the case at 1:30 pm tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the SC has also established a special section to help constitute the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to conduct a probe into the Panama leaks case. Additional registrar Mohammad Ali has been appointed as the coordinator and would be responsible for facilitating all communication between the JIT and the Supreme Court bench.

Deputy registrar and assistant registrar would assist the coordinator. The JIT would submit its report on the progress in the probe to the coordinator every 15 days.

The Supreme Court has received names of the six officers who would comprise the JIT. All the relevant institutions have submitted names of the officers who would be part of the JIT, to the apex court as per the stipulated deadline.

According to the Supreme Court verdict on the Panama case, the JIT has been tasked to investigate into funds used by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children to buy properties in London through offshore businesses.

The JIT would consist of an FIA officer, a NAB representative, an SECP officer, a State Bank of Pakistan nominee, and an officer from the ISI and MI.

The team would begin the investigation as soon as it is constituted. The Supreme Court has tasked the team to submit a report every two weeks to a special bench of the apex court.

The Pakistan Army has pledged to play its role in a legal and transparent manner in the Joint Investigation Team for the Panama Leaks probe, and to fulfill the confidence reposed in the institution by the Supreme Court.

The Panama case decision, announced by the Supreme Court last week, and the JIT ordered by the apex court were discussed by the Army’s top commanders during the 202nd Corps Commander’s conference held at the General Headquarters here on Monday.

In a statement released by the DG ISPR Maj-General Asif Ghafoor, the forum pledged that the “institution through its members in JIT shall play its due role in a legal and transparent manner fulfilling confidence reposed by the Apex Court of Pakistan”.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court had ordered the formation of a six-member JIT to probe corruption allegations by opposition parties against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Leaks case.

The top court had ordered the inclusion of one member each from the Military Intelligence and the Inter-Services Intelligence in the six-member team, which will carry out an investigation into funds used by the prime minister’s children to buy properties in London through offshore businesses.

The investigation team will also comprise of one senior officer each from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

The apex court has ordered the heads of the six departments and institutions, including the ISI and MI, to recommend names of their nominees for the JIT within seven days. Names of the six nominated officers will be placed before the apex court bench for their approval before they can begin their probe into the allegations.

“The JIT shall investigate the case and collect evidence, if any, showing that respondent No.1 [Nawaz Sharif] or any of his dependents or benamidars owns, possesses or has acquired assets or any interest therein disproportionate to his known means of income,” read the order of the apex court.

The court has also ordered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and his two sons Hasan and Hussein Nawaz to “appear and associate themselves with the JIT as and when required”.

The investigation team has to complete its report and submit it to the apex court within 60 days of its formation.

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