Retired SC judge Usmani agrees to head Panama leaks commission

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad—A retired Supreme Court judge has agreed to lead commission over Panama leaks, sources said Friday.
Sources said former apex court judge, Justice Sarmad Jalal Usmani is ready to head the commission, however, he has demanded a team of competent officers from police and FIA besides most experienced chartered accountant.
The government has finalized Justice Sarmad Usmani’s name and began search for the team, sources said.
They added that the government will inform the former judge after it finds the demanded team.
The sources close to the retired judge, said becoming head of the inquiry commission will be in the national interest.
The government has yet to issue official letter to the judge, the sources added.
It may be noted that the government had contacted five judges including two former chief justices. However, former chief justice Nasirul Mulk and Tassaduq Jilani and justice Saair Ali and Justice Tanveer had refused to head the Panama leaks inquiry commission.
Sources further revealed, the government had also approached the Supreme Court for the constitution of a judicial commission comprising serving apex court judges to probe the Panama Leaks allegations but the apex court said ‘no’.
It was also conveyed to the government that the required job in the case of the Panama Leaks was that of investigation, which was not the judiciary’s task. The judiciary is there to adjudicate, not probe such matters. Even otherwise, it is said that the Supreme Court is of the view that the issue of Panama Leaks may come before the judiciary for adjudication at any time.
It is said that currently the apex court has two ad hoc judges, thus it will be difficult to spare two or three serving judges for the Panama Leaks inquiry.
The PTI has demanded the setting up of a judicial commission under the chief justice of Pakistan to probe the Panama Leaks. The PTI chief, Imran Khan, has already made it clear that he will not accept the judicial commission under a retired judge as was announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
On Tuesday, honourable Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali observed that the formation of a commission was the function of the executive and not the apex court. During the hearing of a case, the chief justice said that they had been asked to form a commission or take suo motu on the Panama Leaks issue. However, he said that it was the domain of the executive to constitute a commission.
The chief justice said that they had their own jurisdiction and function, hence the responsibility lies with the executive to constitute a commission but not with the court. Similarly, the chief justice said that an investigation was also the domain of the executive and did not fall under the functions of the judiciary.

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