Pakistan apex court moots probe panel on Panama Papers scam

Islamabad, Nov 1 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government and opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party for written response on formation of a commission to probe the Panama Papers leaks.

The apex court asked Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, which is hell bent on Nawaz Sharif’s ouster, to submit their terms of reference for the formation of a commission to probe the Panama Papers leaks.

The court adjourned till November 3 the hearing of five constitutional petitions that seek disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations.

“The commission will report to the Supreme Court,” the chief justice said, adding that the commission will have the same authority as the apex court.

“SC has decided to resolve the issue of Panama Papers leaks,” Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said while asking both parties to “show restraint”.

The bench has expressed its desire that all the parties, including the PTI, which was to launch its Islamabad lockdown to force Nawaz Sharif to step down from November 2, should reconsider their position.

After the order was made public, former cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan thanked people who are fighting against the corruption. “Go home and rest,” he told supporters, “You have to return to Islamabad tomorrow.”

“I am elated that the investigation into Nawaz Sharif’s corruption will begin day after tomorrow (Thursday).”

Declaring the Supreme Court’s decision a “victory”, Imran Khan’s party has decided to celebrate November 2 as a day of thanksgiving.

“We are glad that this commission is going to be set up… it will get to the root of the matter.”

Following the courts decision, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said, “PML-N surrenders before the bench”. He urged all parties to accept the court’s decision and respect it.