Govt selects Sarmad Jalal to head Panama probe


ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday seemed on course to investigate Panama Papers — an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from an offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca — through a judicial commission headed by a former Supreme Court judge as was announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.


According to sources, Justice (retd.) Sarmad Jalal Osmany, a former apex court judge, has been selected to head the commission.

“Justice (retd.) Osmany has agreed on condition of being given a team comprising able officers,” sources said, adding, “Justice (retd.) Osmany has demanded an experienced chartered accountant, a bright police or Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) officer to be a part of his team.”

However, government is yet to issue a formal notification in this regard but sources said that Justice (retd.) Osmany’s decision to head the commission was taken keeping in view Pakistan’s national interest.

Justice Osmany retired as a Supreme Court judge in October 2015. He specialised in international banking and criminal law. He had also served as the Chief Justice of Sindh High Court.

Earlier, it was reliably learnt that the federal government had contacted five retired Supreme Court judges to head the judicial inquiry for Panama Papers’ revelations.

Former CJPs Nasir-ul-Mulk, Tassaduq Jilani and former SC judges Sair Ali and Tanveer Ahmad Khan have refused to lead the inquiry.

Leaked confidential documents spanning over nearly 40 years that spell out the extensive use of tax havens by politicians, world leaders and celebrities to launder money and evade taxes through one of the most secretive companies the Panamaian law firm Mossack Fonseca has taken the world by storm.

Many Pakistanis have also been named in their revelations.

The documents identify many Pakistani business tycoons and politicians including late two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as well certain members of the ruling Sharif family (excluding PM Nawaz Sharif and his brother Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif) to have use tax havens to hide their wealth.