Commission on Panama leaks: opposition demands legislation


WEB DESK: The combined opposition on Monday remained divided over resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but it did reiterate its demand that the terms of references (ToRs) for the proposed judicial commission must be formulated after framing necessary legislation in consultation with opposition, mandating it to kick start investigation from the Sharif family.

A meeting that took place at the residence of Senator Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, in which representatives of nine opposition political parties gave their opinions, decided to give the ToRs a final shape today after incorporating the view points of all opposition parties.

An eight-member committee comprising Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, Hamid Khan, Asadullah Bhutto, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Aneesa Zeb Tahirkheli, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Israullah Zehri and Mian Iftikhar Hussain, was given the gigantic task to finalise the ToRs.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, PPP leader Qama Zaman Kaira along with other opposition leaders who participated in the meeting, said that it has been decided that all those who have been named in the Panama leaks must be investigated but the process should begin from the Prime Minister’s family.

Asked whether the opposition was still divided over resignation of the prime minister, he had no clear answer. “You’ve all the right to give your own interpretation that opposition is divided over PM’s resignation. But the committee will finalise the ToRs most probably by Tuesday and then things will be clear,” he remarked. However, in the preambles framed by PTI and PPP separately, both the parties clearly demanded the Prime Minister to step down at the commencement of the proceedings of the commission.

About PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen who owns property abroad as well as late Benazir Bhutto whose name also surfaced in the Panama Papers, Karia said there will be across-the-board accountability of all those holding offshore companies but the process must begin from the prime minister as he is the chief executive of the country.

In a joint statement, the opposition parties rejected the ToRs framed by the government, saying a judicial commission should be formed to investigate the Panama leaks, for which it insisted that necessary legislation must be made in consultation with opposition political parties.

It stated that after the startling revelations in Panama papers, the prime minister has failed to fulfill his moral responsibilities. “The government-formulated ToRs, in present form, are no way acceptable,” it added. The joint declaration was signed by Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, opposition leader in National Assembly (Pakistan People’s Party), Shah Mehmood Qureshi of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour of Awami National Party (ANP), Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao of Qaumi Wattan Party (QWP), Israrullah Zehri of BNP-Awami and Sheikh Rashid Ahmad of Awami Muslim League. The representatives of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) also attended the meeting.

By ZULFIQAR AHMAD & ALI HUSSAIN

Source: Business Recorder

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