Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Probing the Panamagate Case

There is a five-judge larger bench looking into the Panama leaks case. With three of the original five justices still part of the bench, the hearings can now be undertaken more efficiently, however, the newly inducted judges will need extra time to be familiar with the case
Removal of one judge from the previous team of five is due to his upcoming retirement in a couple of months. This suggests that Chief Justice is serious about continuity without disruption.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa is heading the bench. The case is to probe Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children over alleged investments in offshore companies with no obvious money trails to fund the deals.
Having accepted the new bench, the PTI looks forward to pressing its case against the Prime Minister. The regular hearings of the Panama issue will give the opposition a political advantage, and the Sharif family is likely to be on the defensive for the most part. It’s up to the honourable bench to reframe the issues and determine the onus of proof on any party to the case.
Of course, there are lessons to be learned from the earlier set of hearings. An overall intense media scrutiny and informed commentary is good for the democracy, but creating negative hype is equally dangerous.
Panama leaks revelations briefly
An investigation published in the past by an international coalition of more than 100 media outlets ─ based on 11.5 million records and 2.6 terabytes of information drawn from the internal database of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca ─ details how politicians, celebrities and other famous people use banks, law firms and offshore shell companies to hide their assets.
According to documents available on the ICIJ website, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's children Maryam, Hasan and Hussain were owners or had the right to authorise transactions for several companies.
The data leak revealed the financial wheelings and dealings of over 200 Pakistanis, including the late Benazir Bhutto, Rehman Malik and other prominent politicians and businessmen.
Since the data leak, PM Nawaz has been under immense pressure at the hands of the opposition to ensure a transparent inquiry is held to justify the sources of funding for his children's offshore companies.
Test Case
It's a test case for the Supreme Court, and it's now or never for the country. If the culprits are set free this time, then it's a defeat of 200 million people allowing the mega corruption to end up as legalized unfortunately.
Mystery: The PM is stuck in a difficult scenario from where getting out is a real challenge.
Either he lied before the honourable apex court bench or in the National Assembly and getting out would not be possible without a miracle.
Hopefully a verdict will be delivered by the bench in due course (sooner the better).
According to general and the expert opinion, if supreme court convicts Nawaz Sharif and puts him behind bars, it will be a defining moment in the history of the country. And if he gets clean chit then this country has no future.
Repercussion of corruption and mismanagement
Almost everyone has the feeling that country is on the verge of financial insolvency, however, the government talks about macro-economic stability.
The question is, if the revenues collected by the government are insufficient to service even debt payment obligations, isn’t there some kind goof up at play in the country’s fiscal and economic policies? The imports are increasing heavily, while cheating on taxes is common.
Yes, the CPEC is a game changer and is most likely to upgrade Pakistan economically generating a better image of the country internationally, yet there are economic fault lines which need be taken care of through the improved justice system based on allowing the equality to all regardless of class.
Culture of plea bargains like the recent ones nourishes corruption for the looting mafia. Pakistan is sinking in the corruption of ruling elite (previous and the current). Karachi stock market showing positive results but the corrupt elements would help it erode away gradually.
PTI Chairman expressed disappointment over former Chief Justice Zaheer Jamali’s decision to delay the Panamagate case hearing and proceed on vacation instead.
Nevertheless, welcoming the formation of a new bench, he said he wishes the new bench would wrap up the case as soon as possible.
Nonsense of Javed Hashmi Factor:
Hashmi is doing as advised by federal minister khawaja Asif. During 2014 sit-in, Justice Nasir ul mulk (person of integrity) was heading the Judiciary. How can Hashmi malign the honourable justice and General Raheel Shareef after their retirements? Openly criticizing the honourable apex judiciary as well as the Pakistan army is highly idiotic, immoral and unconstitutional. Accusing them of bringing judicial martial law or foji martial law certainly amounts to maligning the top institutions of the country.
Truth is, whenever there is an issue of national importance involving the rulers, a new development designed to sideline the main issue happens. Hashmi’s claim is designed as a strategy to weaken the grilling of the Sharifs:
Message to supporters of corruption: Apex court is constitutionally powerful, therefore, no anti biotic may work to save the culprits.
Summing up:
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children on Tuesday submitted documents in the Supreme Court (SC) notifying a change of counsel in the Panamagate case.
There is new evidence already submitted but the Supreme Court has to be able to define the guilt or innocence in a clear manner. Jumping to conclusions is interference in the ongoing legal battle.
As the apex court is highly responsible to uphold its integrity, the current larger bench would make the law prevail by giving the right verdict in the most discussed Panama scandal(a landmark case), where the serving prime minister and his family are involved. Hopefully, it would change the destiny of Pakistan.
In other words, an outcome of this case is most likely to help the nation in weeding out the white collared criminals – the most powerful corrupt mafia.
Beyond doubt, a logical ending of the case would confirm that those in power are not above the law, and the system doesn’t favour the privileged few.
●A judgment has been done but is reserved●

Sources: dawn.com, nation.com.pk, thenews.com.pk

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