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The differences over formation of a probe commission took centre stage at a hearing into the ‘Panamagate’ case in the Supreme Court today with Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf saying it will boycott such a panel and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family agreeing to it. The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing in the case till first week of January as differences over formation of a probe commission dominated the proceedings.
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A five-judge larger bench is hearing the Panamagate case after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and four other petitioners approached the apex court, alleging that ill-gotten money was used by Sharif’s family to buy flats in London, which were run through offshore companies as shown in Panama papers leak.
The court sought opinion about setting up an independent commission as it said that the evidence presented by the parties was not enough to decide the case. But PTI counsel Naeem Bokhari announced the party’s decision to boycott a commission to probe the Panamagate scam. However, Sharif’s lawyer Salman Aslam and his children’s counsel Akram Sheikh told the court their clients would accept the decision to set up a commission.
Meanwhile, Awami Muslim League (AML) leader Sheikh Rashid, presenting his own stance in the absence of a lawyer, asked the court to give a decision instead of waiting for winter break or setting up a commission.
After these arguments, the court adjourned the case till first week of January as Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali said that the two-week court vacations will start from December 15. Significantly, chief justice Jamali would retire on December 30 and the current bench would become dysfunctional.
According to the court, a new bench would be formed headed by the new chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar, who will take oath on December 31, and the case will be heard from the beginning before the new bench.