Despite criticism from the opposition parties, the Imran Khan government on Saturday appointed former Supreme Court judge Azmat Saeed Shaikh as the head of the inquiry commission to investigate the Broadsheet scandal.
The opposition has criticised the government’s move to appoint Shaikh as he had earlier served as deputy prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).According to ARY News, a notification has been issued by the Cabinet Secretariat regarding the appointment of Justice (retired) Azmat Saeed Shaikh as the head of the inquiry commission on Broadsheet revelations.
Saeed has been appointed under Sector 3 of the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act 2017, the terms of reference (ToRs) were also mentioned in the notification.
The inquiry commission will not only probe into Broadsheet findings but also investigate the involvement of some holders of high public offices in mega corruption cases which caused irreparable economic damage to the national exchequer, ARY News reported.
According to the ToRs, the inquiry commission will ‘examine the process of selection and appointment of Trouvons LLC, Broadsheet LLC, and International Asset Recovery Limited.
It will also scrutinise the circumstances, reasons and effect of cancellation of Agreements with Broadsheet LLC and IAR in 2003 besides identifying the reasons and effect of settlement and payments made on behalf of Pakistan to both firms in 2008, and whether the payments made were justified, reported ARY News.
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 proved that Pakistan has been plagued by corruption. Instead of targeting 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 USD 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 USD 28.7 million by December 2020.
Saeed was employed as the deputy prosecutor general of NAB in 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. (ANI)