ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to the federal government and the National Accountability Bureau, seeking reports on the action taken against 436 Pakistanis named in the Panama Papers .

Last year, Jamaat-e-Islami and Tariq Asad advocate filed petitions in the Supreme Court, seeking action against all the Pakistanis whose names had appeared in the Panama Papers . The apex court, however, kept their petitions pending and proceeded against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family on the petitions of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid. During the proceedings against Sharif, the court also allowed the JI to amend its application.

The two-member bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal and Justice Maqbool Baqir, passed a short order, after hearing arguments, which said: “Corruption has permeated every department and initiation of proceedings against one or two would be no solution and that something has to be done holistically so that the monster of corruption could be dumped and doomed once for all.”

On the outset of the hearing, Tariq Asad argued when the apex court was hearing Panama Papers case last time, there was a sit-in in Islamabad and today again there is a dharna when the court is hearing petitions on the Panama leaks. He said names of Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf, several politicians and bureaucrats were in Panama Papers , but the apex court took up the case against Sharifs only.

Justice Ejaz said, “The purpose of your petition is that action be taken against all those who have acquired assets beyond their known sources of income. This is the job of the NAB to proceed against such persons,” he said.

Asad contended a high-level commission be constituted under the supervision of a sitting judge of the Supreme Court. He said, “If the court does not form the commission, a joint investigation team be constituted to probe cases against all the persons named in the Panama Papers .

In his petition, Asad prayed to the apex court to direct the NAB and the Federal Investigation Agency to carry out investigations and submit a comprehensive report to the court in this regard. He said the leaks have revealed names of Pakistani individuals and families from all walks of life, including businessmen as well as retired and serving judges, but the media was focusing only on the former prime minister.

After the hearing, JI chief Siraj-ul Haq, while talking to the media, said only one accused in the Panama leaks case has been dealt with by the Supreme Court while cases of 436 Pakistanis have yet to be opened.

The case was adjourned for an indefinite period.

 

 

SC lays focus on 436 names in Panama Papers