ISLAMABAD - Chief Justice of Pakistan on Tuesday constituted a three-member Special Bench for implementation of the apex court’s judgement on Panama leaks.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan would head the bench, which will also comprise Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan. The Special Bench will hold its first hearing today (Wednesday) at 1:30pm.

All the three judges of Special Bench were also part of the five-judge bench which announced a split decision in Panama leaks case on April 20.

And these are exactly those judges who ruled against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification and decided for further investigation through a joint investigation team (JIT).

The implementation bench does not carry either of the two minority judges - Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed – who in their dissenting notes branded Nawaz Sharif “dishonest” for lying to the parliament as well as the nation about the sources of his family wealth and decided for his disqualification.

The case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and others stems from documents leaked from the Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm, which appeared to show that his daughter and two sons owned offshore holding companies and used them to buy properties in London.

The Special Bench is supposed to oversee the JIT investigation and implementation of the Panama case decision.

The JIT would comprise officers of Federal Investigation Agency, National Accountability Bureau, State Bank of Pakistan, Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Military Intelligence and Inter Service Intelligence.

In pursuance of the top court order, the heads of relevant institutions have proposed three names each of their officers for the JIT. The court would select one officer from each of the above-said six institutions.

SC Additional Registrar Muhammad Ali has been appointed coordinator of the JIT, which would submit investigation progress reports to the Special Bench every 15 days.

INP news agency quoted unnamed sources as saying that the bench has reservations over the names submitted by the FIA, which prevented the formation of the investigation team within seven days as per the April 20 court judgement.

On the other hand, Adviser to Prime Minister on Legal Affairs Barrister Zafarullah Khan on Tuesday submitted a plea in Supreme Court Lahore Registry to review the Panama leaks case verdict.

The plaintiff has requested the court to constitute a judicial commission instead of a joint investigation team, saying that JITs did not prove successful in the past, according to an NNI news agency report.

Purpose and mandate of JIT

The Panama case judgement have raised questions as how did Gulf Steel Mill come into being; what led to its sale; what happened to its liabilities; where did its sale proceeds end up; and how did they reach Jeddah, Qatar and the UK.

The judges in their decision also asked whether respondents No 7 and 8 (Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz) in view of their tender ages had the means in the early nineties to possess and purchase the [London] flats.

The court also questioned the sudden appearance of the letters of Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jaber Al-Thani, and whether it was a myth or a reality.

It asked how bearer shares crystallised into the flats; who, in fact, is the real and beneficial owner of M/s Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited; and how did Hill Metal Establishment come into existence.

The court further asked where did the money for Flagship Investment Limited and other companies set up/taken over by respondent No 8 come from, and where did the Working Capital for such companies come from.

The judgement further raised the question that from where the huge sums running into millions gifted by respondent No 7 (Hussain Nawaz) to respondent No 1 (PM Nawaz) drop in. All this, the court said, go to the heart of the matter and need to be answered. Therefore, a thorough investigation in this behalf is required.

The JIT shall investigate the case and collect evidence, if any, showing that respondent No 1 (Nawaz Sharif) or any of his dependents or benamidars owns, possesses or has acquired assets or any interest therein disproportionate to his/her known means of income.

The JIT may also examine the evidence and material, if any, already available with the FIA and NAB relating to or having any nexus with the possession or acquisition of the aforesaid flats or any other assets or pecuniary resources and their origin.

The JIT shall submit its periodical reports every two weeks before the bench. The JIT shall complete the investigation and submit its final report before the bench within a period of 60 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, including an order for filing a reference against respondent No 1 and any other person having nexus with the crime if justified on the basis of the material thus brought on the record before it.

PM Nawaz Sharif, his sons Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz have been directed to appear and associate themselves with the JIT as and when required.

The judgement held that upon receipt of the reports, periodic or final of the JIT, as the case may be, the matter of disqualification of respondent No 1 (PM Nawaz) shall be considered.

If found necessary for passing an appropriate order in this behalf, respondent No 1 or any other person may be summoned and examined (by the Special Bench).