Panama JIT: SC expresses satisfaction over interim report


-File Photo

The Special Bench of Supreme Court on Monday expressed satisfaction over an interim report submitted by the 6-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) tasked to implement the Panama Papers case’s verdict.

The six-member JIT constituted by Supreme Court’s Special Bench on May 5 last submitted its first fortnightly report to the apex court.

After reviewing the report, the contents of which were not made public, the three-member Special Bench of the apex court, formed to monitor the JIT’s proceedings, ordered Wajid Zia, head of the JIT, to complete the probe within the given timeframe. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, the head of the bench, reminded JIT head that the tasks assigned to the team should be completed within the 60-day period at all costs.

“We will not allow extra time under any circumstances,” Justice Shiekh Azmat Saeed, another member of bench, added. He directed the JIT head to inform the court in case of any problem in conducting the investigation by any government department. “If you face any obstacle, bring it to our notice,” the bench declared. The bench expressed satisfaction over the progress of JIT.

“We are not dissatisfied with the investigation so far,” said Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh. However, the three-member bench made it crystal clear to the JIT to complete the probe within time, and said, “You mean business, we mean business.” Advocate Faisal Chaudhry representing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, urged the court to make the JIT’s report public. However, the bench said the report will be made public at a “suitable time.”

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan asked the PTI’s lawyer to identity a provision of law on the basis of which the court could share JIT’s progress report. “We do not sell the law for popularity,” said Justice Ejaz Afzal. “Do not compromise on investigations for the benefit of others,” Justice Azmat told the PTI counsel. The next hearing will be held after two weeks in line with the Supreme Court’s order on the Panama Papers case.

After the hearing, talking to media persons, JIT head Wajid Zia said that they are working according to the court’s directions. He did not answer the question whether or not the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would be questioned. Speaking outside the Supreme Court after the hearing, leaders of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) criticised PTI Chairman Imran Khan for ‘hurling baseless allegations’ at the third-time elected prime minister.

Fawad Chaudhry of PTI said they are disappointed that the JIT’s progress report will not being shared is the public, adding the people have a right to know since the case affects the whole country. To a question about Monday’s proceedings, he said the judges have termed this a criminal case where the Code of Criminal Procedure is applied; hence the Prime Minister can be arrested.

Later, State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb lashed out at the PTI chief, saying “they [PTI] want cheap publicity on issues of national importance.” She said the party [PTI] speaks the enemy’s language on all issues – be it the [Kulbhushan] Jadhav case hearing in the International Court of Justice or the Dawn Leaks issue. PMl-N MNA Talal Chaudhry said it has been proved today that the JIT is working freely and without any pressure from the ruling party, as was alleged by its detractors before.-Business Recorder