LAHORE - One of the subjects of heated debate in Pakistan these days has been the issue of Panama Leaks and who should investigate the charges against the Sharif family and others. The government has announced to form a Judicial Commission headed by a retired judge of good repute.

Opposition parties, the PTI and the JI in particular, insist it should be headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan. A latest demand by PPP’s Rehman Malik, who is also facing corruption charges, is that the matter should be probed by a Parliamentary Committee representing all the Parliamentary parties having representation in the Parliament. There are also reports that many retired judges so far contacted by the government have declined government’s request to head the Commission.

The most important aspect of the issue which is being deliberately ignored is the forensic audit of the offshore accounts. It is significant because it is only through this audit that facts about the Panama Leaks can be brought before the nation. A pertinent question whether the retired or serving judges in Pakistan have the required expertise to probe the pervasive corruption is being ignored in the whole episode. The answer is no because they have not been trained for this job. They can only be expected to deliver justice while remaining within the legal framework.

Panama Leaks , on the other hand, is an issue of funds kept hidden offshore from tax and the law-enforcement agencies. It is an issue of tax evasion by exploiting loopholes in the tax laws which involves money laundering also.

While the terms of reference of the proposed Judicial Commission are yet to be notified, it is highly likely that focus of the inquiry may be shifted away from the forensic audit. In this background, it makes sense that Pakistan govt should hire the services of experts who have worked in world renowned investigation companies with forensic expertise. Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Transparency & Anti-Corruption is one such organisation which deals with the hidden corruption through offshore accounts.

It also has the expertise to detect whether or not the funds passing through offshore accounts had been taxed at their origin. Ikram ul-Majeed Sehgal, Chairman of the Pathfinder Group, has the distinction of being one of its global members having worked on this subject. Also a foundation member of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Sehgal is also one of the members of WEF’s initiative against corruption.