Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa chaired the 202nd Corps’ Commanders Conference at the General Headquarters on Monday specifically to discuss the Panama case and the inclusion of the military in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT). The top brass decided that the military would play its due role as a part of JIT to investigate the Panama Papers case and ‘fulfil the confidence’ reposed in the institution. This strong statement, coming after a high-powered meeting, adds another wrinkle to the already complicated investigation procedure. While the military has insured that it will play a role, nothing in this statement answers the burning question: What role will the military actually play in the investigation?

Before we get to the second question, the mere fact that the military has said it will “fulfil the confidence” placed upon it will settle much speculation surrounding the JIT. In the days following the verdict the rumour mill has constantly been turning, churning stories that the military resents the burden placed on it by the Supreme Court and its representatives will not take an active part in deciding the fate of the Prime Minister. This statement addresses that concern directly.

The representatives of Military Intelligence (MI) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) are now expected to offer their full services to the JIT, but what do these services entail? The spy agencies are typically trained in espionage, counter-espionage and general intelligence gathering – skills not needed in a corruption investigation. Even if they have experience with uncovering financial irregularities and money trails, the fact remains that the person under investigation is not an armed group or a foreign government but a sitting Prime Minister – the evidence against him must meet the requirements of the law if it is to be admissible in court. Here the methods have to revert to the ones regularly used by investigators, such as court orders, demanding paperwork, receiving affidavits and recording statements.

However, the presence of these agencies does lend other benefits to the JIT. With institutions like the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) not considered capable of investigating their executive overlords – in the eyes of the Supreme Court at least – it is hoped that the ISI and MI will motivate the JIT to take their job seriously.

How much they will motivate the JIT remains to be seen. However, it is undeniable that to the sceptics and cynics of the JIT’s independence and capability, the military’s statement has given some hope.