Problem for Sharif as Pakistan SC issues notice over Panamagate scandal

Islamabad [Pakistan], Oct. 20 : The Pakistan Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and others over petitions seeking his disqualification on account of the Panama Papers leaks.

The case has been adjourned for two weeks, reports the Express Tribune. On August 28, Hamid Khan and Naeem Bukhari filed a constitutional petition on behalf of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan that sought disqualification of Sharif and the members of his family for their alleged involvement in the Panama Papers scandal.

Meanwhile, the three-judge apex court bench led by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali rejected Watan Party's plea not to form the commission to probing the leaks.

The bench also refused to pass an order for restraining the PTI hold a sit in [in Islamabad] on November 2.

The Chief Justice observed that when the executive would fail to protect the fundamental rights of citizens, then the top court would intervene to protect their rights.

The bench issued notices to all the respondents in the four petitioners. The PTI had announced that it will mobilise thousands of its supporters for the November 2 protest aimed at ousting Prime Minister Sharif over allegations of corruption.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Prime Minister discussed with his close aides legal options the federal government can exercise in its defence at judicial and constitutional forums against allegations levelled in light of Panama leaks.

A strategy is also being chalked out to defend references and cases involving Panama leaks in the Election Commission of Pakistan and the Lahore High Court.

The government and the opposition parties have been unable to evolve joint Terms of Reference (ToR) for the investigation, as the government insists that investigation should involve all those named in corruption cases, while, opposition parties, mainly PTI says that it should begin with the assets of the premier's family.

On May 13, Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali declined government's request to form a commission to investigate the leaks, saying legislation by the parliament as well as resolution of the ToRs issue needs to be resolved first.

The Panama Papers are 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney-client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities.

The leaked documents illustrate how wealthy individuals and public officials are able to keep personal financial information private.

Source: ANI