ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Bar Council urged the apex court to convert the federation letter to probe the Panama Leaks into suo moto under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and settled the ToRs for inquiry commission if the political parties fail to formulate the consensus one.

The PBC’s various committees on Saturday held the meeting at the Supreme Court building and expressed concern over the ToRs formulated by the federation for the commission to investigate the Panama Leaks. It said that the leaks have caused damage to the prestige of the country and, therefore, it is imperative that the issue should be resolved in the larger interest of the people of Pakistan.

Pakistan Bar Council is of the considered view that all investigative State institutions should be empowered and made independent so that one does not have to make or look to ad hoc arrangements so as to investigate such matters. However, one can lose sight of the fact that in the present times the existing investigative institutions in Pakistan are struck with nepotism and other adversities and therefore, they would not be able to investigate the issue at hand independently.

The PBC said if the political parties are unable to formulate the consensus ToRs in seven days then the top court should settle the ToRs and investigate the matter either through itself or through a commission.

It said that the ToRs are not in consonance with said Section 3(1) of Pakistan Commission Inquiry Act 1956.

It said an attempt has been made to delay the proposed inquiry or investigation so that the matter is lost in the annals of history. “The inquiry ToRs should specifically name the person or persons who are to be investigated through the proposed inquiry.”

The statement said that the commission having all the powers under the Civil Procedure Code may bind any person against whom investigation is being conducted to authorise a commission to seek complete details from offshore companies and accounts.

The PBC said that it is the fundamental right of life of every citizen of Pakistan, under Articles 8, 9, 10A, 14 & 17 of the Constitution, that they are governed by a prime minister who is not bogged down with allegations of financial corruption of the magnitude which is recently displayed through the Panama Leaks.

The PBC didn’t agree with the recent findings of the Senate sub-committee that since Pakistan has not entered into any agreement with a foreign country for the purposes of checking money laundering, kickbacks and bribery etc any enquiry would be infructuous.

It said that the United Nations Convention against Corruption of 2003 has been ratified by Pakistan in January 13, 2010. In terms of such an international protocol, prevention of corruption, money laundering case, kickbacks, embezzlement, bribery etc are covered. In this protocol international law enforcement and judicial cooperation are covered, with a view to effect asset recovery, technical assistance and information exchange.

The statement said besides that there exists a number of statutes, like National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, Income Tax Ordinance, 2001, FIA Act, 1974, the Pakistan Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 that also covers the issue.