Panama leaks: SC orders parties to present TORs for formation of commission on Thursday

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ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court of Pakistan has directed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslime League Nawaz (PML-N) and other parties to submit written response on Thursday regarding finalisation of Terms of References (TORs) to form a commission to probe the issue of Panama Papers leaks.

A five-member larger bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali heard the petitions submitted against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami Muslim League (AML).

The apex court had earlier directed both the government and PTI to submit their comments after consulting with their respective leaderships on the formation of a commission and adjourned the hearing for two hours.

As the case hearing resumed, the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf expressed their consent for the formation of the commission.

The court asked the parties to present in writing their proposal for formation of the commission.

Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said the commission will report to the Supreme Court, adding that it will hold powers equal to the apex court.

“We have to save the country from unrest and crises,” Justice Jamali said.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said the Supreme Court will not interfere in the political affairs but the Constitution allows it to resolve conflicts.

The bench further made it clear that the court will settle the issue of TORs by itself if any party failed to respond.

PM WELCOMES SC DECISION

Speaking to reporters outside the Supreme Court, Minister for Defense Khawaja Asif said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has openly welcomed the formation of the commission on Panama Papers. He said the Prime Minister wants early conclusion of the case.

Asif said the PML-N has whole-heartedly accepted the court’s orders and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf should also take back the protest call.

He reiterated that there is no justification of the protest following the court’s proceedings on the matter.

Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique expressed the confidence that the PTI leadership will show maturity and take back the protest call for return of normalcy to the country.

Counsel of PTI Hamid Khan in his remarks said the PTI agrees to the formation of the commission.

NO CHANGE IN SIT-IN PLAN

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) spokesperson Naeemul Haque said sit-in will be staged in the federal capital on Wednesday in any case.

“We will continue our struggle against corruption,” he added.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been under pressure since documents released as part of the Panama Papers data leak showed his children owned several off-shore companies and used them to buy properties in London. He denies wrongdoing, as do his children.

The opposition has seized on the Panama Papers scandal as a fresh opportunity to try to unseat Sharif, who told parliament that his wealth was acquired legally in the decades before he entered politics and no money was siphoned off-shore.

PTI chairman Imran Khan has vowed to “shut down” Islamabad on November 2, demanding PM Nawaz to either step down or present himself for accountability for his alleged involvement in Panama Papers scandal.

2016-11-01

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