ISLAMABAD - The ruling PML-N yesterday inched toward formation of a judicial commission under a retired judge of Supreme Court of Pakistan, Sarmad Jalal Usmani, who has given conditional consent to head the commission to probe the persons allegedly involved in holding offshore companies as revealed in the Panama leaks.

Though there was no official confirmation of finalising the name of Justice (retd) Sarmad Jalal Usmani who retired as a Supreme Court judge last year, some insiders in the ruling PML-N said he was ready to head the commission under certain conditions.

Almost all the opposition parties have come up with outright rejection of the probe commission under a retired Supreme Court judge to examine Panama Papers’ revelations soon after its announcement by the prime minister in his address to the nation. Later, all of them demanded such a probe under the Chief Justice of Pakistan-led commission.

Sources in the ruling party said though on record the PML-N ministers and leaders were showing no flexibility and insisting that the commission would be headed by a retired Supreme Court of Pakistan judge, under plan ‘B’ in case of mounting pressure from the opposition parties, the government could accept the demand of commission under the serving judges of the apex court, but in that case they would try to get the terms of reference (TOR) framed which would facilitate them, the sources added.

Some insiders in the party revealed in the previous meeting held on the issue with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair before his travel to London for medical check-up, the legal brains of the party had given approval to the commission by the serving judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Previously, the government approached several retired judges, including two former chief justices of Pakistan, Nasirul Mulk and Tassadaq Hussain Jillani, but they refused to head the commission which, according to them, landed in a controversy even before its constitution as almost all the opposition parties rejected it and wanted a probe commission under the chief justice of Pakistan.

Now Justice (retd) Sarmad Jalal Usmani who is considered to be an expert in handling cases relating to financial matters has given conditional consent and demanded services of a chartered accounts firm of international repute and some senior officials of police and FIA at the disposal of the commission in handling the matter.

Sources in the government confirmed whatever facilities and powers the proposed commission required would be provided and the commission would be all powerful to summon anyone for investigation and query. It could even travel abroad in connection of the investigation if required.

Sources in PML-N said under the decision made in a meeting held a couple of days back at the Prime Minister’s House, senior party leaders led by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar would start meeting the heads of parliamentary parties to muster their support for the proposed probe commission under the retired judge of the apex court.

During these meetings, besides obtaining their approval to the commission, the PML-N leaders would also seek their input in formation of the TORs for the said commission, the sources added.