ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar said on Wednesday that officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence were already part of the Panama case joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the then interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
The remarks by the chief justice came during the hearing of fictitious bank accounts case on Wednesday.
Justice Nisar, during the hearing on Monday, had inquired DG FIA Bashir Memon about names of Panama case JIT members. Memon had replied that the team also had two members from the ISI and MI.
At this, the chief justice had said that leave [the names of] individuals from intelligence agencies for they must have been inducted for spicing things up.
He had suggested formation of a Panama case-like JIT in fictitious bank accounts case that would have Wajid Zia and his team, adding that the people would then say the court could not constitute a JIT.
As the hearing resumed on Wednesday, the Panamagate JIT was again mentioned in the courtroom. The counsel of Omni Group, Shahid Hamid, informed the court that the JIT was constituted by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, and ISI and MI officials were inducted into it.
At this, the chief justice remarked that there was a misunderstanding with regard to officials of intelligence agencies in Panama case JIT.
He said that he thought the names of intelligence officials were included later on, [but] ISI and MI individuals were there in Chaudhry Nisar’s JIT.
The remarks led to a new debate about the JIT of the much-hyped case that culminated in the ouster of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif on July 28, 2017.
Chaudhry Nisar also responded to the remarks by issuing a statement on Wednesday. The former interior minister said that Panama case JIT was constituted on the orders of a three-member bench of the apex court and the induction of military officials was also part of its verdict.
He said that neither he nor the interior ministry had to do anything with the constitution of the investigation team or the inclusion of military officials.
Nisar stated that the registrar of the Supreme Court, in accordance with the verdict of the three-member bench, had himself sought three names each from FIA, SECP, NAB, ISI and MI.
No ministry or a government functionary was made part of this entire process, he clarified.