Pakistan’s Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said Monday that the officers of the spy agencies – the Military Intelligence and the ISI – were included in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the Panama Papers case probe against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to “spice it up”, according to a media report.
Chief Justice Nisar made the remarks during the hearing of a suo moto case regarding Rs 35 billion worth shady transactions from and to the account of Zardari Group, a business owned by the former president and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur.
During the hearing, the top judge hinted at forming a JIT as it was made in the Panama Papers case against Sharif, who is now lodged in the Adiala jail after being convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison in the Avenfield case by an accountability court.
The chief justice asked Federal Investigation Agency Director General Bashir Memon to inform the three-member bench about the members of Panama gate JIT, to which, the apex court was told that the team was consisting of six members, the BBC Urdu website reported.
Memon started reading out the names of the JIT members and when he mentioned Brigadier (retd) Nauman Saeed’s name the top judge asked, ‘from which department this man belonged to?’
The bench was told that Brigadier (retd) Saeed belonged to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), it said.
In response, Chief Justice Nisar said that the spy officials were added to the JIT, which probed financial dealings of Sharif family, for “spicing it up”, the website reported.
He also said that there was no need to include spy officers in the shady transactions case. The hearing of the case was adjourned till Wednesday.
In April 2017, a five-judge Supreme Court bench had set up a six-member JIT comprising officials from different agencies including those from powerful spy agencies – the ISI and the Military Intelligence – to investigate the graft allegations against Sharif and his family.
The other agencies in the JIT include the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
At the time, Sharif had objected to the inclusion of the ISI officer in the JIT.