All Pakistanis named in Panama Papers face probe

Published: April 15, 2016
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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders decide to take political stakeholders onboard.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders decide to take political stakeholders onboard.

ISLAMABAD: 

The government has decided to investigate all Pakistanis named in the Panama Papers through a judicial commission headed by a retired judge, rebuffing the opposition’s demand for a probe into the scandal through a serving judge.

On Thursday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar after a marathon huddle with senior leaders of the ruling party finalised the government’s strategy with three major components: legal, political and administrative measures, to deal with the mounting pressure.

Panama Leaks: Nisar renews offer for a ‘consensus commission’

The government has been under tremendous pressure since the Panama Papers revealed the names of around 220 Pakistanis, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s immediate family members, keeping offshore accounts in international tax havens.

While the premier has already ordered an inquiry led by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, the Imran Khan-led PTI has threatened to stage a sit-in outside the Sharif family house in Raiwind if the government does not order an impartial investigation by the country’s top judge.

The government went ahead with its stance while finalising the terms of reference (ToRs) for the judicial inquiry through a former judge to establish if any of those named in the Panama leaks committed any illegality in financial transactions.

“Since the Supreme Court chief justice has already expressed his intent through his remarks, we would go for a retired judge-led commission,” a minister told The Express Tribune.

‘Panama leaks have made no allegations of wrongdoing against Sharif family’

The commission will be set up under the inquiry commission act and notified in the next few days. It will have the power to summon any individual or institution and hire the services of any agency to help it investigate the matter.

Some retired judges of the apex court have already declined the government’s offer to head the new commission. Prominent among those are former SC chief justices Nasirul Mulk and Tassadiq Hussian Jilani.

Unconfirmed reports claim the government has also approached Justice (retd) Sarmad Jalal Usmani.

A participant at the meeting held at the PM House said the main objective of the commission is to determine who amongst the accused infringed laws and committed illegal acts. “The commission will examine the case of every Pakistani national, whose name has come up in Panama Papers. This will not be only limited to the Sharif family alone.”

The government would share the ToRs of its proposed commission with other political parties for which it has allocated separate teams.

Parallel to the legal course of action, the meeting also chalked out the government’s strategy to deal with the issue politically. Dar would form separate teams to target different political parties with each team tasked to accost a political group to woo them into accepting the proposed ToRs.

The administrative task of tackling the protesting parties has been left to Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

The government team later sent its detailed plan to PM Nawaz, who is in London for a medical checkup.

Panama Leaks: PPP forms two teams to ponder strategy

A statement issued by the PM House after the meeting said the PML-N leadership has vowed not to be deterred by the “conspiracies and the spate of ridiculous allegations against the PM” and to continue with the national development agenda.

Dar said the PM had asked the party leaders not to pay any heed to the conspiracies being hatched against the progressive and development agenda of his government and focus on early completion of the mega-development schemes.

The meeting was attended by the Punjab CM, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Safron Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Zahid Hamid, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, Senator Mushahidullah Khan and Maryam Nawaz. Former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan and the Attorney General of Pakistan also participated.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • thoughtpurification
    Apr 15, 2016 - 8:52AM

    Appoint a special public independent prosecutor with wide power answerable to CJPRecommend

  • WB
    Apr 15, 2016 - 10:31AM

    A white-wash. PMLN is an expert in making useless commissions just to cover up their illegal activities!Recommend

  • abcd
    Apr 15, 2016 - 10:48AM

    So one day a guy was caught red-handed shoplifting. So the shop keeper caught him and said lets us set up a committee of your family members and servants to decide your case. The committee appointed the shoplifter’s best friend as the judge. They got the best friend, who was in the next store and asked what should we do to this guy. The best friend said…let him go he is innocent. So the shop keeper let him go along with the goods he had shoplifted :)…..hmm…something not right in this story…Recommend

  • wow
    Apr 15, 2016 - 10:49AM

    “The meeting was attended by the Punjab CM, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Safron Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Zahid Hamid, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, Senator Mushahidullah Khan and Maryam Nawaz. Former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan and the Attorney General of Pakistan also participated”

    What the heck is a “Safron Minister” ???Recommend

  • Omar Sadiq
    Apr 15, 2016 - 11:17AM

    I am a little confused here!!! The PM has gone to do a ‘muk-muka” with Zardari on the Panama/Looting scandals and the PML(N) has been directed by the daughter of the tyrant to give a befitting reply to the opposition to protect the Sharif family in the face of the Panama papers. PML(N) and PPP, your time to loot the country is over now….INSHALLAH!!!Recommend

  • yp Mississauga
    Apr 15, 2016 - 11:26AM

    To say every Pakistani named in Panama leaks will be investigated by Judicial commission means buying timing. person who holds Highest public office should be investigated first and results made public, if found guilty, should be punished. Investigations of other in line of hierarchy should be followed.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Apr 15, 2016 - 11:58AM

    Lol, if Sharif & Co. have to go down then bring everyone else down as well, meaning safety amongst partners in corruption.Recommend

  • Iqbal
    Apr 15, 2016 - 12:55PM

    Even the British taxpayers who finance aid to Pakistan are fed up. This is from today’s press quoted word to word:

    PAKISTAN
    UK aid: £538m a year
    Ranking: 117
    Even the pro-aid select committee for international development complained of giving huge sums to a country where more than two-thirds of MPs do not bother filing tax returns. Corruption and tax evasion is estimated to cost Pakistan about £100 million a day. Prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s children were linked to £7 million offshore dealings for four Park Lane properties by the Panama Papers. The billionaire businessman sparked outrage over travel expenses — including 17 trips to Britain — averaging £132,000 a month.
    Former president Asif Ali Zardari was known as ‘Mr Ten Percent’, allegedly amassing a billion-pound property portfolio including a Surrey mansion set in 350 acres.Recommend

  • Gramscian
    Apr 15, 2016 - 2:02PM

    It means:

    They have got a judge who is ready to do their bidding.
    Affidavits from royal friend in Saudi Arabia are in the making, which will ‘prove’ Sharifs’ innocence
    Inclusion of all people on the list means ‘probe’ will take many months, if not years, and PPP naturally wont put pressure on Nawaz. With time other issues will come up and Panama Leaks will go away.
    Terms of reference will be to Sharifs’ & other culprits’ liking.

    Conclusion: Eyewash commission to give clean chit to Sharifs. Recommend

  • salman
    Apr 15, 2016 - 2:15PM

    So maryam naaz, one of the accused in Panama leaks, is part of the team developing the strategy to investigate the Panama leaks. Lol.

    This just lost any credibility it had (and it didn’t have much to start off with). Anyone who believes we are going to get the truth through this process, might as well join the queue to buy that car that runs on water….Recommend

  • Y. Dassu
    Apr 15, 2016 - 7:24PM

    The Panama Papers is turning into a farce- The long suffering people of Pakistan do not deserve such leaders who just do not care.
    All being treated abroad for their medical ailments, shop abroad, runaway abroad, bank and holiday abroad – the Country does not need leaders who are damaging Pakistan’s International Reputation tremendously. They have made the country into their private ‘Jagir’. Recommend

  • J.A.G (Toront)
    Apr 15, 2016 - 7:43PM

    True Justice in Canada………
    On a Saturday night a senior serving Minister in Ontario Government was stopped and charged by Toronto Police for driving while being drunk. Minister was taken to a night court and a Justice of peace (Judge) sentenced him to three months Jail.
    In the morning Minister was taken to a Toronto Jail where he was processed with other prisoners and started serving his time. Remember their is no class in the jails in Canada, Minister served his sentence with ordinary street criminals.
    The whole process of Minister being stopped, charged, sentenced and admitted to the jail took less than eight hours.
    Next day two members of his political party came to see the Minister in Jail and made him sign his resignation, we never saw him again in Politics or holding any responsible position in Government.Recommend

  • Usman
    Apr 15, 2016 - 8:22PM

    Look my fellow Pakistanis how they are all gathering together to save their King.Recommend

  • Cain
    Apr 15, 2016 - 8:24PM

    i hope they also investigate the two judges whose name appear in panama papers.Recommend

  • sabi
    Apr 15, 2016 - 9:08PM

    The thugs are not interested in elimination of corruption but democracy. Civil and military establishment must not give the dictator mafia any space to play with the future of this country. The whole nation stands behind Nawaz Sharif to make Pakistan peaceful and prosperous. Recommend

  • sabi
    Apr 15, 2016 - 9:16PM

    Even if God descends on earth and declare this government fair they will not admit it. They are interested in grabbing power by hook or by crook and then loot it. They are the worst. Deal with them with iron hand.Recommend

  • ishrat salim
    Apr 15, 2016 - 9:41PM

    Panama leak is nothing but a conspiracy to derail democracy according to our politicians. Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Apr 15, 2016 - 9:55PM

    The meeting was attended by the Punjab CM, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Safron Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Law Minister Zahid Hamid, Railways Minister Saad Rafique, Senator Mushahidullah Khan and Maryam Nawaz. Former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan and the Attorney General of Pakistan also participated.

    All these good people also appear in the list of Sharifs cronies and have no function to investigate the criminal activities of Pakistan citizens, who are only accountable to the Treasury, the Taxation authorities and the judiciary in a democracy where rule of law is practiced. The politicians must resign or be stripped of immunity by the Parliament so that investigations are undertaken by the relevant authorities.

    Rex Minor..Recommend

  • Arman Zain
    Apr 16, 2016 - 12:36AM

    As everyone is in London at same time .. seems like another London Plan is brewing…

    One has to wonder why all political disputes either start or end in London, most recent one was PTI and PAT dharna planning and now Panama Leaks settlement.

    While big guns are doing Muka Muka, media is keeping poor Pakistani thrilled with over-analysis and dramatized news feeds.Recommend

  • hassan khawri
    Apr 16, 2016 - 1:19AM

    CJP led commission is the best option to investigate Panama Leaks. Should start with PM and His Cabinet First, opposition in second place and rest after that.Not a single person from present Govt must be included in commission. A team of Honest Officers and competent accountants must be part of commission (selected by CJP himself) with full power to do what ever they deem fit in the vast interest of Nation.Recommend

  • malik
    Apr 16, 2016 - 3:24AM

    Same old story of Sheep & Wolf …… Wolf wants to be the King again Recommend

  • freed
    Apr 16, 2016 - 3:37AM

    Why waste time, when everyone in pakistan already know the result of commision that works on commision. Recommend

  • freed
    Apr 16, 2016 - 3:48AM

    Great keep them busy for another 4 years, So many games… Why did Allah bless us with such great leadership? the whole world must be in envy.Recommend

  • Molana Diesel
    Apr 16, 2016 - 7:50PM

    Task the MI or ISI if the govt is serious to pack up.Recommend

  • delhuss
    Apr 16, 2016 - 9:57PM

    Poverty in a country is a symptom of corruption. It always has been and always will be until the great and ‘good’ stop trying to emulate the western concept of ‘greed is good’. It is not. Wealth is not a freely flowing river. It is a river that has been dammed up so that the vast majority of the wealth stays behind the dam and only a little is allowed to get through. The ‘trickle down’ theory does not work and it is a fallacy.
    Our ethos of Materialism needs to shift to a more balanced ethos of Mutualism. It is the duty of the better-off to take care of their less well-off bretheren and this should be our guiding ethos. What is the good of three expensive homes when only one is needed? Our Moral Budget needs to be higher and our Material Greed needs to be lower for poverty to be eradicated. And it can be. Pakistan can be a rich nation with all its natural resources. We need to remove the yoke of economic Imperialism and develop our own industries instead of Mortgaging the country to the likes of IMF and World Bank.Recommend

  • Mohammad AkramI
    Apr 17, 2016 - 12:21AM

    In fact there is no need to hire anyone to investigate. The evidence is there when accounts and transactions involved are in black and white All Pakistanis must be judges if they done it wrong an how they managed to take the funds/money out of the country Where was the State Bank Its very interesting and public of Pakistan would love to see that all those who took the wealth out without declaring or paying taxes must pay for their offences as per the law of the land Making Judicial Councils is just waste of timeRecommend

  • Mohammad Akram
    Apr 17, 2016 - 12:27AM

    There is a need to hire any retired judges They done enough damage in the past instead hire investigators who can find out if the funds were illegally syphoned into the offshore companies and also obtaining the properties in London how and when the money was sent find out th channels and also the trail Only experts can do this finding not the local judges/retired
    God is going to punish all those who betrayed the trust of the nation.Recommend

  • NoCringe
    Apr 17, 2016 - 10:05PM

    You mean yet another developing country ruler stole from his people and knew the art of hiding his wealth offshore while more than half of the country was exposed to hunger and contaminated drinking water? Hmm. Let me guess, he’s still in power and will continue to be? I’m amazed!Recommend

  • mirza
    Apr 18, 2016 - 3:11AM

    Its imperative for public to know and government should “Revealed the names of around 220 Pakistanis” listed in Panama leak.Recommend

  • Mohammad Akram
    Apr 18, 2016 - 2:51PM

    Nawaz Sharif and his relatives involved will hardly accept the verdict of any Court let alone orders issued by a Retired judge. Hiring a retired judge is just a wash out. It’s not acceptable moreover under which powers delegated under the Constitution Ishaq Darr can form a Commission. He and others got no power to form such Commission Recommend

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