SC majority judges order constitution of JIT to inquire Panama Papers case SC majority judges order constitution of JIT to inquire Panama Papers case

Majority judges of the Supreme Court five-member bench Thursday ordered constitution of a joint investigation team (JIT) to further probe the allegations with regard to Panama Papers case.

The three judges of the SC bench differed with the opinion of two other judges and directed for an appropriate probe in the case.

Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, who headed the five-judge bench, announced the reserved order over a set of petitions moved by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jammat-i-Islami and Awami Muslim League.

In the wake of majority’s decision, the Supreme Court issued direction to set up JIT to investigate and submit its report within 60 days about Panama Papers allegations.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan opted for formation of a JIT, to find answers to certain
questions raised by them in this order.

Justice Khosa read out the majority decision in which he and Justice Gulzar Ahmed differed with the other three judges of the
apex court.

The majority decision cited the reason for constitution of a JIT by saying in the normal circumstances, such exercise could be conducted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), but its Chairman appeared to be indifferent and even unwilling
to perform his part.

It ordered for the constitution of the JIT which would consist of the following members :

i) a senior officer of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), not below the rank of Additional Director General who shall head the team having firsthand experience of investigation of white collar crime and related matters;

ii) a representative of the National Accountability Bureau(NAB);

iii) a nominee of the Security & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) familiar with the issues of money laundering
and white collar crimes;

iv) a nominee of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP);

v) a seasoned officer of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI)
nominated by its Director General; and

vi) a seasoned officer of Military Intelligence (M.I.) nominated by its Director General.

The order said the heads of the aforesaid departments/ institutions would recommend the names of their nominees for
the JIT within seven days which would be placed before the judges in chambers for nomination and approval.

The JIT would investigate the case and collect evidence, if any, against the respondents.

Further respondents were directed to appear and associate themselves with the JIT as and when required.

The JIT may also examine the evidence and material, if any, already available with the FIA and NAB.

The JIT is required to submit its periodical reports every two weeks before a Bench of the Court constituted in
this behalf.

The JIT would complete the investigation and submit its final report before the said Bench within sixty days from the date of its constitution.

The bench thereupon may pass appropriate orders in exercise of its powers under Articles 184(3), 187(2) and 190
of the Constitution on the basis of the material brought on the record before it.

It is further held that if found necessary, the court may summon and examine the respondent or any person.

The bench also requested the Chief Justice of Pakistan to constitute a Special Bench to ensure implementation of this
judgment so that the investigation into the allegations might not be left in a blind alley. (APP)

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