Islamabad: Panamagate issue finally came to an end today as the court ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe how money was transferred to Qatar.
Justice Asif Saeed Khosa began announcing the final verdict in the case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family at Courtroom 1 today at the apex court to an audience of over 400 people, according to TV reports. Justice Ejaz Afzal authored the 540-page verdict.
The final verdict is split 3-2 among the bench, Media reports, with two dissenting notes in the judgement by Justice Khosa and Justice Gulzar. The two judges ruled against PM Nawaz Sharif, whereas the other three were in favour of forming a JIT.
The JIT is to include officials NAB, FIA, State Bank of Pakistan, Inter-Services Intelligence, Military Intelligence, the bench said, and will be led by a director-general level FIA officer.
The Supreme court orderd that the names of members of the JIT must be announced within seven days, and a probe report must be released within 60 days. The JIT must report its progress to the court on a weekly basis.
A special bench will examine the case under Section 184/3 of the Constitution.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters outside the apex court that the verdict was split 3-2. “They have said what the PM already said in his letter ─ that a commission should be constituted to investigate the matter,” he said.
“We are ready for all kinds of investigation,” Asif said. “It has been established today that any evidence or sacrifices given by our opponents in the SC were not enough. We have succeeded.”
Railways Minister Saad Rafique asserted that the PML-N would “fully cooperate with the JIT and the court’s decision will be respected.” The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) should also respect the court’s decision, Rafique said, among slogans of “Go Imran, go.”
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal termed it a “historic victory” for the PML-N. “The minority judgement shows that the PTI represents a minority in Pakistan.”