LAHORE - The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) wants United Nations’ probe into Panama leaks about the offshore companies of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s family.

Under the UN convention on anti-corruption, the Bar wants international task force, jointly represented by the UN and the Pakistani experts, to investigate the leaks. The bar believes that committee or commission on the issue cannot be constituted. According to sources, the bar firmly of the view that local law is not sufficient to fathom the truth and only a global body guided by international laws can have access to the required information and the evidence. The bar says first stage is fact finding which has to be done by the UN force, and in light of that prosecution and the recovery of the laundered money would be possible.

The Bar has rejected the government-announced commission headed by a former Supreme Court judge. This stance of the bar although meets that of the PTI yet the Bar favours a different mode. The PTI demands judicial inquiry led by Chief Justice of Pakistan which is not acceptable to the government.

The Panama leaks have disclosed two offshore companies to be operated by Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz under the supervision of Maryam Nawaz. The PM had announced to appoint a commission of the retired judge to fathom the truth but the PTI has rejected that commission. At the political front, situation is being reckoned grave and volatile as different predictions are being made at the intellectual and public levels about the final result of the issue, which may also be ouster of the PM.

In order to break the stalemate over how leaks would be looked into, the SCBA took the initiative and met representatives of both PTI and the government on Saturday last. The Bar President Barrister Ali Zafar and the Secretary Asad Manzoor Butt along with three Lahore-based executive members of the bar had met the PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the government representative Law Minister Zahid Hamid and shared views with them on a midway to break the impasse. Both the parties had agreed to put proposals of the Bar before their respective leadership to let the bar know next week.

The Bar has informed both the sides about the complications on appointing a judicial commission when the matter is of global nature and comes under the purview of a higher forum to reach the truth. In this background, the Bar now seeks the investigation of Panama leaks by a UN task force under the jurisdiction of the UN Convention against Corruption. The Bar has also prepared terms of reference which it would disclose to the media on Tuesday (today).

So far the government is pushing for constitution of a judicial commission for which it has also named a former Justice of the Supreme Court Sarmad Jalal Usmani. Sources in the legal fraternity on good authority say that Justice Usmani has refused to head the commission following two other judges Justice Sheikh Sair and Justice Tasadduq Hussain Jilani did the same. Sources say the PTI is taking the Bar-propounded via madia near to its demand wherein investigation by a former judge is not acceptable to it. However, the party would call the bar and inform its decision most probably today.