ISLAMABAD - Supreme Court Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali Tuesday said setting up a commission to probe issues was a domain of the executive and not of the apex court.

The opposition parties, particularly PTI Chairman Imran Khan, are vociferously demanding the chief justice take suo motu notice or constitute a commission to probe the Panama leaks that have named over 200 people from Pakistan, including PM Nawaz Sharif family, involved in stashing their money abroad via offshore companies.

Since the judiciary does not like to be involved in this mess, even retired judges have so far refused to be part of the commission that will investigate the Panama leaks.

Heading a three-judge bench which heard the Sindh government appeal against the Sindh High Court judgment, though the chief justice did not mention the Panama scam, he tried to clarify in his remarks that investigation is the job of the executive and not of the apex court.

The CJP said there was a pressure on the apex court to take suo motu notice or constitute a commission, but forming such a commission was jurisdiction of the executive and not of the courts. He said: “We have our own jurisdiction.”

Earlier, Babar Awan, representing Pakistan People’s Party, argued the Sindh government had amended the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013, for the election of mayors and deputy mayors through show of hands to ensure transparency.

The chief justice remarked what kind of transparency he was mentioning when the census that was due in 2008 had not so far been held. He said the census was a must for transparency in elections.

Justice Jamali said: “Sometimes we have to compromise on issues as they did regarding the 21st Amendment to save democracy,” he added. He was of the view that cases of political nature should not come to the courts and the parties themselves should resolve them.

He said: “The amendment is good, but it has done more damage as a winning party, after coming to power through amendments in the constitution, bulldozes the system. The constitution is for all times to come.” He said the amendments in the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013, were made to change the mode of elections from secret ballot to show of hands after the announcement of the election schedule, which was not right.

Farooq H Naek who also appeared on behalf of the Sindh government said the LG elections in the province were held in three phases. These elections were held through secret ballots, but the mode for the election of mayors and deputy mayors had been changed.

The chief justice remarked the 3rd Amendment was introduced when the councillors who had been elected through secret ballots were expecting that the election of mayors and deputy mayors would also be held through secret ballot, but the government went for show of hands.

The Sindh provincial government, through the Third Amendment in the SLGA, 2013, adopted the mode of show of hands for the election of mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen and vice chairmen of councils. Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional challenged that amendment in the Sindh High Court which declared the election through show of hands illegal.

Justice Hani Muslim questioned whether such changes in the local government law were permissible after the commencement of the election process. The chief justice remarked now the issue was of ego because both the parties could resolve the matter by sitting together.

As MQM counsel Farogh Naseem couldn’t not appear therefore the bench due to his surgery, the court adjourned the hearing till Thursday (tomorrow) and directed MQM leader Waseem Akhtar to arrange another counsel by that day.