Govt has a change of heart on Panama probe?
ISLAMABAD – Amid growing consensus among opposition parties to have probe into Panama Papers revelations through a commission directly supervised by Chief Justice of Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in consultation with close political aides and heads of allies, may step back from his announced plan of getting the examination of the whole matter by a probe commission under a retired judge of the apex court.
Sources in the ruling PML-N informed The Nation that initially when some legal aides supported the idea of probe by sitting judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan, it was discarded and hawks in the party attributed the acceptance of opposition parties’ demand of probe under Chief Justice of Pakistan as weakness of the party.
But in the changed scenario when almost all the opposition parties have rejected the probe under the government’s tailored probe commission, the government is compelled to consider forming a commission under a serving judge of the apex court for which further consultation in the party would be done today, a source in the party informed.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif soon after his arrival at Nur Khan Airbase yesterday night was given quick briefing by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who has been looking after the whole affair in his absence. He drove to Prime Minister’s House along with the prime minister briefing him on the developments taking place in his absence and his meetings and consultations with leaders of other political parties and legal aides.
The sources informed that the prime minister would be meeting select members of his party including the legal brains to have detailed discussion on other options the government could opt after the rejection of the probe commission under a retired apex court judge by almost all the opposition parties.
The sources said that after having in-house deliberations on the issue, the prime minister would take the government allies including JUI-F, NP, PML-F, PkMAP and others into confidence on the plan to deal with the issue in a next couple of days and then with the full backing of the ruling coalition would enter into discussion on terms of reference for the judicial commission with opposition parties.
The sources further said that a tentative ToR had already been prepared by the legal team of the government and now they would be discussing the same with other political parties, mainly those sitting on opposition benches to satisfy them on the fairness of the probe into the Panama leaks.
The sources further said that in case of getting the matter probed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the PM would be required to write a letter to the chief justice asking him to constitute a commission to look into the validity of the allegations levelled against some members of his family and a couple of hundred other Pakistanis in the Panama leaks as was done with the rigging allegations by the Supreme Court in the recent past.
These sources said that before reaching this point, the ruling PML-N will have to sit with opposition parties to finalise the terms of reference for the said probe commission which again would be a tedious job and could take several weeks.