Imran Khan delays notification on formation of Broadsheet inquiry committee
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's government has delayed the issuance of notification regarding the formation of the inquiry committee on the Broadsheet issue, said a senior cabinet member to The Express Tribune on Sunday.
Earlier this week, the federal cabinet had ordered the inquiry, headed by a former judge of the Supreme Court or a high court, to examine the circumstances relating to the Broadsheet agreement and subsequent arbitration proceedings and present its report and recommendation in 45 days, reported The Express Tribune.
The cabinet had decided that the inquiry committee would include a senior officer from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a senior lawyer appointed by Prime Minister Imran Khan and an official of the office of the Advocate General for Pakistan, reported The Express Tribune.
Later the government announced that the inquiry would be led by former Supreme Court judge Azmat Saeed Sheikh. However, it has yet to issue the notification, which is creating doubts in people's minds.
The Broadsheet LLC, based in the Isle of Man, was hired by the NAB during Musharraf's regime to trace out hidden assets of Pakistanis in foreign countries. The NAB signed an agreement with the Broadsheet but terminated it in 2003.The scandal amply proved that Pakistan has been plagued by corruption. Instead of targetting the corrupt, the Broadsheet was used for political gains and safe passage was given to the corrupt people to escape accountability through National Reconciliation Ordinance.
In March 2019, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) gave a $20 million final award in the Broadsheet case. However, the NAB/Imran-led government did not pay that amount and due to interest, the award amount rose to $28.7 million by December 2020.
The opposition as well as some lawyers have said that the government should give an explanation on $8 to $10 million interest which had been added to the award payment. The country faced $5,000 interest daily in the Broadsheet case, reported The Express Tribune.
Moreover, the appointment of former Supreme Court judge Azmat Saeed created widespread criticism from the opposition parties as well as some sections of the media.
Saeed was employed as the deputy prosecutor general of NAB in the year 2000 for a period of one year. He was appointed as special prosecutor of NAB in 2001 to pursue cases before the accountability courts at Attock Fort and Rawalpindi.
Legal experts have indicated that the appointment of Justice (retd) Sheikh could be challenged in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on the basis of conflict of interest because the former judge had worked as deputy/special prosecutor general of the NAB.
They suggested that government must review its decision on his nomination. Similarly, they also suggest that Term of References (ToRs) - also approved by the cabinet in its meeting on Tuesday - should be reviewed, reported The Express Tribune.