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National commission can't be set up on Nawaz's statement: Lawyers.


LAHORE -- The country's top lawyers say there is no option of a 'national commission' as demanded by ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, though an inquiry commission could be formed regarding his statement on Mumbai attacks. The lawyers say there is no precedent of a national commission in the country's history to probe merely the statement of an individual.

Former ousted premier Nawaz Sharif Monday demanded the formation of a national commission in the light of the recent treason allegations against him, saying the proposed commission should decide as to a traitor is.

Commissions are made on national issues while a commission to probe allegations of rigging in four constituencies; two in Lahore, one in Sialkot and the other in Lodharan during the last general elections of 2013 and Memogate are examples from the recent past.

Talking to The Nation, senior lawyer and former law minister SM Zafar said Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act, 1956, is a law under which commissions are made, adding the government has the power to form any commission under this law.

However, Zafar said there is no possibility of formation of any commission; rather an inquiry commission should be made. He pointed out an administrative commission is also made for certain purposes, especially to address the issues of legislation and laws. As far as an inquiry commission is concerned, it is made to probe a national issue.

'I think an inquiry commission should be made to probe the statement of Nawaz Sharif if it has been demanded,' S M Zafar said, urging the political leaders to stop this 'hue and cry' and stay away from befooling the public.

'It happens whenever the election days come near,' he said in the context of Nawaz Sharif's recent statement and the subsequent reaction.

Renowned lawyer AK Dogar said the government may demand such a commission under the Inquiry Act. Answering a question he said no such commission was ever made and if any such commission is made, it would be an inquiry commission under The Pakistan Inquiry Commission Act, 1956.

He said Memogate Commission and the commission made to probe the rigging allegations in the last general elections of 2013 are the examples of inquiry commissions.

Another lawyer, seeking anonymity, said under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act, 2017, the government has the right to form an inquiry commission, but the difference is that now the inquiry report would also be made public, which was not mandatory under the previous law.

'The parallel Indian law also empowers their government to establish inquiry commissions to probe national issues like the Mumbai attacks and so we have,' the lawyer said.

Advocate Azhar Siddique said the demand for the constitution of a national commission is nothing but an attempt to fool the people. He said if Nawaz Sharif insists on the formation of such a commission, a case should be registered against him under the treason charges and then a joint investigation team should be constituted for investigation into the matter under discussion. Azhar Siddique believed the demand is completely unjustifiable because PML-N is ruling the government.

Barrister Zafarullah Khan ruled out the possibility of formation of a national commission, saying it could not be established under the law. 'Inquiry commissions are formed only for national-level issues and not for the sake of investigation of mere statements,' he said. There is no such precedent of a national commission, he said.

Advocate Mukhdoom Waseem Qureshi said an inquiry must be conducted into the matter and Nawaz Sharif must say on oath that he would stick to his statement so that he could not step back as he had been doing in the past.
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Publication:The Nation (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:May 18, 2018
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