ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a report from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and federal government on action taken against 436 Pakistanis named in the Panama Papers, sending notices to the respondents.
The Panama Papers, a massive investigation into secretive offshore companies owned by the world’s political and business elite, sparked outrage in several countries last year. In Pakistan, their publication had led to the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The petitions seeking action against all those named in the Panama Papers were filed by Jamaat-e-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq and Advocate Tariq Asad.
On Thursday, a two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal, conducted a hearing on the petitions and directed that the petitions should be clubbed together.
During the hearing, Advocate Asad told the court that decisive action should be taken against those who had “engaged in corrupt practices and set up off-shore companies in Panama”.
The lawyer alleged that “these companies are established for tax-evasion purposes, therefore, an action should be taken against those who engaged in money-laundering”.
“Interior Ministry, government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan be listed as respondents in the case,” the advocated requested the court.
Justice Afzal asked the advocate if he seeks action against those who own assets beyond their known sources of income, reminding the petitioner that it is NAB’s responsibility for undertaking investigations against such individuals.
“I served on the bench that heard the Panama Papers case. We will hear this case,” Justice Afzal added. “Corruption is found in every state institution and steps need to be taken to against it,” he added.
The hearing was adjourned indefinitely.