LAHORE - The LHC division bench has referred the petitions seeking inquiry against PM Nawaz and his three children for operating offshore companies, as leaked through Panama Papers, to the Chief Justice for constituting a larger bench to hear the matter “as it involves many important questions of law and the constitution”.

An LHC bench, comprising Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf and Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar, took the said action while proceeding with the petitions earlier filed by PTI’s Gohar Nawaz Sindhu and others inter alias alleging the prime minister has a role in establishing the offshore companies of his kids who were his dependents as such the money used for opening the companies was provided by their father.

This fact, they said, was kept in the dark by the prime minister about declaring his resources for tax purposes as well as the election commission.

During the hearing, Justice Rauf remarked that Panama leaks are “an important national issue that carries serious questions of law through the petitions, as such propriety demands the same should be heard and decided by the larger bench”.

Advocate Sindhu told the court that Maryam Nawaz, the PM’s daughter, established two offshore companies and purchased flats in Mayfair area of London. The documents obtained from British property registration authority confirmed ownership of Flats # 16, 16-A, 17 & 17-A in the name of Maryam Nawaz, he added.

According to the petitioners, the top politicians including the prime minister were involved in transferring public money out of Pakistan and establishing off shore companies. Public money was invested in offshore companies and it was also not shifted abroad through any legal means, they held.

Asking for a NAB inquiry into the Panama leaks, the petitioners have prayed the court to declare Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other politicians disqualified as parliamentarians.

They have requested that Election Commission of Pakistan be directed to start inquiry against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for concealing facts at the time of submitting nomination papers.

NAB ACTION STAYED

Meanwhile, the LHC division bench stayed action of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against a steel mill for recovery of ‘defaulted’ electricity bill.

The bench also directed the registrar office to club the petition with already pending petitions against the jurisdiction of National Accountability Bureau to make recovery from the electricity distribution companies’ defaulters.

Advocate Mohsin Virk argued on behalf of the mill that Nab had been taking coercive measures against it despite a stay order passed by the court against the bureau’s powers in the matter. He said all the action of the NAB was in violation of the stay order.

The counsel asked the bench to restrain the bureau from taking action against the mill in terms of recovery of the electricity bill.

The bench granted stay to the petitioner-mill and adjourned hearing till Oct 26.