Panamagate scandal: PTI to intensify legal battle on leaks probe

Hearing of constitutional petition likely to be fixed after Ashura


Hasnaat Malik October 10, 2016
Chaudhry Faisal Hussain, who is appearing on behalf of the PTI candidate against the PM’s son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar before the ECP, contends that if the parties are not similar then the matter can be adjudicated at different forums. PHOTO: TARIQ HASSAN/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has decided to step up its legal battle for a probe into the Panama leaks before going for street agitation over the delay in initiating the investigation.

The party will also approach the Supreme Court for early hearing of its constitutional petition, seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and members of his family for their alleged involvement in the Panamagate scandal.

“I have received instructions from my client for filing an application today (Monday) regarding early hearing of the PTI’s constitutional petition,” Chaudhry Akhtar Ali, Advocate-on-Record (AoR) told The Express Tribune.

He expected that the hearing of the constitutional petition will be fixed after Ashura as Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali is in Karachi for holding hearings at the registry.

On August 28, Hamid Khan and Naeem Bukhari filed the constitutional petition on behalf of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, seeking the disqualification of the PM, Captain (retd) Safdar and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar from parliament.

PTI senior leader Ishaq Khan Khakwani has confirmed that the party will move a plea for early hearing of the case because, despite the passage of more than one year, regular hearing of the matter has yet to be fixed.

“We don’t want to give an impression that the PTI is not availing legal options for probing the Panama leaks and starting protests over delay in the probe into the Panama leaks,” he added.

Khakwani said although his party did not wish to disrupt the lives of citizens, it was compelled to call a lockdown in Islamabad on October 30, lamenting that the PTI did not receive a positive response by any state institution on the issue of a probe into Panamagate.

At the same time, he said, it is “a great test for the Supreme Court and how it will deal with the Panama leaks matter”. “It is a matter of grave public importance therefore, a larger bench should be constituted.

A PTI legal team, headed by Hamid Khan, is also appearing before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) today (Monday) to pursue cases for the disqualification of the PM and his other family members.

At present, the Panama issue is being raised before four forums -- opposition parties have been pleading this matter before the Election Commission of Pakistan, the National Assembly speaker, high courts and the Supreme Court.



A senior PTI leader also reveals that there is lack of coordination among members of the party’s legal team. Apparently, one legal wing is led by PTI general secretary Jahangir Khan Tareen and the other is headed by Hamid Khan.

Chaudhry Faisal Hussain, who is appearing on behalf of the PTI candidate against the PM’s son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar before the ECP, contends that if the parties are not similar then the matter can be adjudicated at different forums.

SCBA president Ali Zafar said he still believes that the apex court will not interfere in this matter under Article 184(3) of the constitution. Likewise the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has no legal authority to record evidence in this matter. Speaker’s ruling cannot be challenged before the high court as well.

He says parliament is the only forum wherein the Panama leaks issue could be settled down by introducing legislation for empowering the commission to probe the matter.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2016.

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