Pakistan News

PTI wants new Panamagate bench to retain four members

PTI wants new Panamagate bench to retain four members

LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) wants the new chief justice of the Supreme Court to include four judges of the incumbent bench in the new one to hear the Pana­magate case, “as they understand the case details”, PTI vice-chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said at a press conference on Saturday.

However, the party would not protest or boycott proceedings if the incumbent judges were not included in the new bench, he clarified.

The PTI had, instead, decided to hold public meetings ahead of the next hearing to inform the masses about the progress in the case, he said.

“We will hold at least two mass public meetings ... to present our case in the court of people,” he told journalists.

He claimed that the Panamagate case had paralysed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government as no institution was working effectively. He said the government’s ministers kept crying themselves hoarse on television 14 times a day trying to rescue the prime minister from the corruption scandal. Yet they never bothered to complete quorum in parliament, he said.

The PTI vice-chairman said the Supreme Court bench had refused the government counsel’s request to remove the prime minister’s name from the case. Although the prime minister had read out a well-rehearsed speech about investment on the floor of the National Assembly, Mr Qureshi said, PTI’s counsel Naeem Bokhari had proved that the prime minister and his family had never made the 26 million dirhams investment. When the money trail could not be explained, the Qatari prince was brought in, he said.

He said the PTI had proved that the PM’s daughter was a beneficiary of an offshore company through documents downloaded from the website of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). He said the FBR had issued notices to several people based on the ICIJ’s information but the government’s counsel had refused to accept the evidence. Questioning the double standards, Mr Qureshi asked whether the Federal Board of Revenue would also withdraw the notices it had issued to those named in the Panama Papers. “The government should challenge the documents uploaded on the ICIJ website, if it believes they are wrong,” he suggested.

The party leader said the government established military courts for two years with the objective of finalising judicial reforms. The two years will be up in January. He said the nation deserved to know what the government had done about the judicial reforms. “Nothing, as far as I know,” he said.

Expressing support for the four demands put forward by the Pakistan Peoples Party, the PTI vice-chairman said that the PPP had constituted a four-member team to carry forward the four demands to a logical end. Lauding three members of the committee, Mr Qureshi expressed his surprise over the appointment of former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani as the fourth member and convener.

He said the masses were waiting with bated breath to see how the PPP would react in Larkana on December 27, if the government did not accept the demands.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2016

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