Pakistan: Supreme Court refuses to form inquiry panel on Panama row

| Saturday, May 14, 2016 - 13:38
First Published |
Pakistan, Supreme Court, Anwar Zaheer Jamali

Jamali has refused to form a "toothless inquiry commission" to probe the Panama Papers leaks under its existing ToR's

Islamabad: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Anwar Zaheer Jamali has refused to form a "toothless inquiry commission" to probe the Panama Papers leaks under its existing terms of reference (ToRs) in a latest blow to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif government.
"Formation of a commission of inquiry under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act 1956, looking to its limited scope, will result in the constitution of a toothless commission, which will serve no useful purpose, except giving a bad name to it," said the Supreme Court's one-page's reply, sent to the law secretary by the Supreme Court through its registrar Arbab Muhammad Arif, reports the Express Tribune.
Sharif had requested the Supreme Court to form an inquiry commission to investigate the Panama leaks on April 22.
On April 3 the panama papers revealed that the sharif's three children were among hundreds of people with offshore holdings in a tax haven.
Sharif led-government had also formed the commission's terms of reference (ToRs), which had broadened the scope of proposed investigations beyond the leaks.
However, the opposition parties rejected the government's ToRs and called for new legislation for the probe.
The court expressed its desire to form the body under a new law and asked the government to do proper legislation for creating a powerful commission.
The apex court also expressed reservations over the federal government's proposed ToRs.
"The ToRs are so wide and open ended that, prima facie, it may take years together for the commission to conclude its proceedings," Chief Justice of Pakistan's letter said.
The court also sought a list of all individuals, families, groups, companies, etc, with their total number along with some relevant particulars against whom purported inquiry proceedings are to be held before forming any opinion on the government's request to form the commission.
"Unless such information and particulars are provided and the issue of formation of a commission under some proper legislation is reconsidered and resolved, no final response to the government's letter will be furnished," the CJP's letter said.

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