Two of the country’s major opposition parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), have expressed reservations on the investigation panel that is to be headed by former Supreme Court (SC) justice, Azmat Saeed, to investigate the Broadsheet scandal.
Speaking to a private media outlet on Thursday, senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal pointed out that the former SC judge was part of the bench in the Panama Papers case that disqualified then prime minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif.
“He was later invited by PM Imran Khan to join the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital’s Board of Governors after his retirement.”
Ahsan also pointed out that during the Musharraf regime, when the asset recovery agreement was signed with Broadsheet, Justice Azmat was part of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Meanwhile, PPP Secretary General Nayyer Bukhari said the PTI’s dishonesty had been exposed by the nomination of committee head. “It seems that the government wants to put all the blame on the previous governments.”
Bukhari said the PPP has reservations on the committee, adding, “it is a sensitive matter which should be investigated in a transparent manner.”
According to the Supreme Court’s website, Justice Azmat was the anti-graft watchdog’s deputy prosecutor general in Islamabad in the year 2000 for a period of one year and was later appointed NAB special prosecutor in 2001 to prosecute cases before accountability courts at Attock Fort and in Rawalpindi.
However, it is not clear if the former judge had played a role, if any, in the formulation and signing of the asset recovery agreement and/or its eventual termination.
It was reported earlier on Thursday that Azmat will lead the inquiry commission to examine the circumstances relating to the Broadsheet agreement and subsequent arbitration proceedings that resulted in substantial loss to the national exchequer.
The announcement was made by Information Minister Shibli Faraz.
Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry also said that “PM Imran Khan has appointed Justice (r) Azmat Saeed as head of the Broadsheet inquiry committee”, adding that the remaining members of the committee would be appointed with Justice (r) Azmat’s consultation.