Government rejects Opposition’s ToRs, but open to talks

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The government on Wednesday rejected the Terms of References (ToRs) articulated by joint opposition for the proposed commission to investigate the Panama leaks but it did offer to engage opposition in evolving a consensus on ToRs to resolve the matter without any further loss of time.

Speaking at a press conference, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan flanked by Law Minister Zahid Hamid, and Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Law Barrister Zafarullah said that despite all the reservations over the ToRs prepared by the joint opposition, the government has decided to form a committee to negotiate with the opposition to build a consensus on ToRs.

Khan said the opposition wants no investigation in this matter but it wants to use it for political gains.

“The target of opposition parties is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and not corruption,” he said adding that they do not want to get to the truth, and are only targeting Prime Minister who has already offered himself for accountability.

He said the Opposition just wants to make the Prime Minister controversial for its political objectives.

A section of Opposition wants to protect some of its leaders who have also established offshore companies, he added.

Urging the opposition to inject clarity into its objectives, Nisar said, the Prime Minister had already announced that he would go home if proven guilty and had also written a letter to Chief Justice of Pakistan to form an independent commission to investigate the Panama leaks.

“I request the opposition parties not to create confusion among the people and let the truth be exposed,” he said adding the attitude of opposition shows that they have no confidence in Supreme Court of Pakistan as well as Pakistani laws.

He said all demands of the opposition regarding investigations into the matter had been fulfilled by the government.

“No one needs to dictate any terms to the Supreme Court of the country as it can investigate the issue in any manner it wants,” he said. Later, the Opposition raised a hue and cry on the ToRs proposed by the government, he added.

He said the ToRs proposed by the joint opposition had further widened the gulf between government and the opposition as they were based on mala-fide intentions.

Speaking on the occasion, Zahid Hamid said the ToRs proposed by the joint opposition had already given a conclusion in its preamble, which was against the rules of any ongoing probe.

“Even the ICIJ has said Nawaz Sharif’s name was not mentioned in the Panama Papers but the Opposition parties have given their verdict on the matter,” he said.

“We were expecting that the Opposition would give some positive suggestions about ToRs.

Unfortunately, however, the ToRs presented by them disappointed the government as these are totally based on dishonesty,” he said adding that the ToRs prepared by the joint opposition had only targeted the PM and the language used in the ToRs was based on their ill-intentions.

Referring to the opposition’s ToRs, he said that “this is not a serious document”.

He gave an overall comparison of the Terms of Reference presented by the government and the Opposition. He said government’s ToRs are more comprehensive than those of the Opposition.

The Interior Minister offered to form a joint committee comprising administration, members of opposition, NADRA and media to identify people involved in harassing PTI’s female workers during a recent PTI gathering.

“The photographs of the people involved should be shared by media and the police,” he said, adding the NADRA would use the photos to identify the suspects.

He lamented that Imran Khan blamed the police and PML-N for his own mismanagement. “It is not fair to blame other parties for your own faults,” he added.

Source: Business Recorder