ISLAMABAD: The announcement by an apparently perplexed prime minister in his televised speech to the nation on Tuesday to form a ‘judicial commission’ to investigate any wrongdoings on the part of his family and their involvement in setting up of off-shore companies met immediate criticism by law experts who maintained that the composition of the commission as announced by the PM fell short of fulfilling the set criteria for a true judicial commission. The prime minister in his speech announced that the so-called ‘judicial commission’ will comprise a retired judge of the Supreme Court, but he failed to realize that only sitting judge(s) can be the member(s) of a judicial commission, not the retired judge(s). “Any commission that consists of sitting judges can be called a judicial commission. No retired judge can be the member of a judicial commission,” Justice (r) Shaiq Usmani, former chief justice of Sindh High Court, said when asked about his opinion on the prime minister’s announcement. He further said that the judge(s) for a judicial commission are nominated by the chief justice of a high court from among the serving judges of the respective high court on the provincial level. On the federal level, he said, the chief justice of Pakistan nominates serving judge(s) from the Supreme Court. “On the other hand, a commission comprising retired judge(s) is constituted by the sitting government under its executive authority and that can be called an inquiry commission, not the judicial commission,” he said. Former deputy attorney general of Pakistan and law expert Shah Khawar also voiced the same point of view. “The commission as announced by the prime minister in his speech can’t be called a judicial commission. It lacks in ingredients necessary for a judicial commission,” he said, and added, “Yes, you can call it an inquiry commission.” Questions are also being raised over the credibility of a commission comprising a retired judge of the Supreme Court. The foremost question that comes into mind is that who would select the retired judge? If government will do it, and, of course, it will do under its executive authority, what would be guarantee of the impartiality of such a commission? How could a commission effectively proceed against the people who have themselves appointed it? Secondly, will the inquiry conducted by a retired judge appointed the executive himself be acceptable to the people as well as rival political parties. The answer is for sure ‘NO’. Such an activity will only prove to be an eyewash and would just earn bad name for the ruling PML-N. The government immediately needs to correct this ‘dodge’ and announce a true judicial commission that must comprise sitting judges of the Supreme Court who could sort out the matter through an independent, free and fair investigation.