The refusal of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to avail the judicial commission’s option for holding an investigation into a Panama leaks case coupled with the retirement of Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali on Friday has reportedly led to prolong adjudication of the Panamagate case.
PTI and other four petitioners filed pleas in the Supreme Court seeking various remedies including disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members allegedly involved in the Panamagate scandal.
Earlier, a five-member larger bench led by the Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali asked the counsel to seek instructions form their clients over formation of a commission.
It is pertinent to mention that Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali is set to retire on December 30 wherein a full court reference would be held on December 15 in his honour.
Appearing before a larger bench on Friday, Nawaz Sharif’s children’s lawyer Akram Sheikh submitted that his clients are ready to observe orders of the court, saying if the bench forms a commission no hurdle would be created in the investigation of the matter.
Naeem Bokhari, counsel for the PTI submitted, “We think that we’ve made out our case. We urged the court to proceed the case”.
Bokhari said that he has been instructed not to accept the option of Commission in the matter saying if the court forms a commission PTI would boycott it.
Bokhari urged the bench to hear the case and announce a verdict in both situations that if the PTI failed to substantiate its plea accurately or the Prime Minister Nawaz’s case was weak.
Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali replied that the court has given the option of a Commission to the parties to the case as fullest opportunity in accordance with law so that nobody can say in future that he was deprived of producing any document or rebuttal properly.
However, Chief Justice Jamali categorically observed that the court is competent to form a commission without a dictation or influence of a party to the case.
Jamaat-e-Islami’s counsel Asad Manzoor Butt and another petitioner Tariq Asad urged the bench to form the Commission.
Another petitioner, Sheikh Rashid, chief of the Awami Muslim League requested the court to hear the case instead of referring the matter to Commission, adding that he had submitted that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) would provide information in response to the Registrar of the apex court’s letter.
Sheikh Rashid further said that court’s decision would be accurate even his contentions are not accepted in the matter in hand.
To which, Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said “the current proceedings are not of a kind of adversarial,” adding that principally responsibility comes over the shoulders of the court when it entertains a petition under the Article 184 (3).
Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said he not only has to hear the case but has to compile the judgement in the matter which, Chief Justice Jamali added, would not be possible practically after a full court reference on December 15.
Later, adjourning the hearing of the plea to a date in the first week of January 2017, the bench ruled that the “pleas shall not be treated as part heard for the reason that by that time one of the members of the Bench (Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali) will be laying down his robes.”