ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan criticised the terms of reference of judicial commission announced by the prime minister to probe the allegations levelled by Panama Papers.
While addressing a press conference on Saturday, Imran said he was “very disappointed after hearing yesterday’s speech by Nawaz Sharif”.
“I thought the prime minister would perhaps give an explanation of why he has the offshore accounts, but now I am positive that he has something to hide.”
“Allegations against Nawaz are not by any political party but by an international consortium of journalists,” said Imran, adding that “now the premier is under moral obligation to clear his name”.
Nawaz Sharif has lost moral authority to rule, he maintained.
The PTI chief said that other world leaders have accepted the allegations against them.
“But Nawaz Sharif did not give any answers in his speech, he just attacked the opposition parties.”
Imran complained that the terms of reference should have been made in confidence with the opposition and that currently it only protects the ruling party.
Nawaz Sharif’s hands are clean, says information minister
Information Minister Pervez Rashid hit back in response to the PTI chief’s remarks
“Imran Khan was calling for a commission until yesterday, and today he is complaining about it. Perhaps, he had thought a commission would not be made. He was proved wrong,” he said.
“Nawaz Sharif’s hands are clean and that is why a commission has been made.”
“The commission has a far-reaching scope, it can investigate anyone,” emphasised the minister.
Commission’s Terms of Reference
The letter, written by the ministry of law, says the commission can probe the offshore accounts of Pakistani citizens, investigate current or former bureaucrats and would have the power to summon any individual.
The Commission of Inquiry shall have the following Terms of Reference:
- To examine information relating to involvement of Pakistani citizens, persons of Pakistan origin and legal entities in off-shore companies in Panama or in any other country.
- Involvement of former and present holders of public office in writing off their own bank loans or those of their immediate family members through political influence.
- Transfer from Pakistan of funds which have originated from corruption, commissions or kickbacks, and to determine whether, in any case referred to above, any law for the time being in force in Pakistan has been infringed.
- In case the answer to above is affirmative, to determine responsibility for such infringement, and to make such recommendations as may be deemed appropriate.
- The Commission shall have powers under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person, including a tax expert or accountant, and examining him on oath, requiring the discovery and production of any documents, receiving evidence on affidavits, issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses on documents and requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any Court or office.
- The Commission shall have the powers to require any person, subject to any privilege which may be claimed by that person under any law for the time being in force, to furnish information on such point or matters as, in the opinion of the Commission, may be useful for, or relevant to, the subject matter of the inquiry.
- Any officer not below the rank of a gazetted officer, specially authorized in this behalf by the President of the Commission may enter any building or place where the Commission has reason to believe that any books of account or other documents relating to the subject matter of the inquiry may be found, and may seize any such books of account or documents or take extracts or copies therefrom subject to the provisions of section 102 and section 103 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, insofar as they may be applicable.
- Any proceeding before the Commission shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.
- The Commission shall be assisted by all the concerned authorities of the Federal and Provincial Governments.
- The Commission shall start the inquiry at a place and on a date to be fixed by it and shall submit its report to the Federal Government in accordance with its Terms of Reference.
- The Cabinet Division shall provide secretarial assistance to the Commission.