ToRs for commission: MQM rejoins combined Opposition

WEB DESK: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Friday rejoined the combined opposition by getting representation in a parliamentary committee that has been constituted to formulate Terms of References (ToRs) for the inquiry body on the Panama leaks.

The development came following a meeting of the MQM’s delegation led by Dr Farooq Sattar with joint opposition headed by leader of the opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah, which was also attended by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice-chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi and representatives of other opposition parties.

Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif will represent MQM in the parliamentary committee, replacing Qaumi Wattan Party (QWP) chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao who voluntarily withdrew his nomination.

The 12-member committee, constituted under a parliamentary resolution on Thursday, gives equal representation – six members each to treasury and opposition benches in both houses of the parliament.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Khursheed Shah said that MQM had some misunderstanding which has now been addressed. He further said that Saif will represent MQM in the parliamentary committee.

He said that Sherpao has voluntarily stepped down, stressing that the number of the body should remain six from the opposition side in accordance with the resolution passed in National Assembly. However, he said that the Speaker may replace any member of the committee on the request of the leader of the parliamentary party concerned.

The committee will submit its report to the Parliament within two weeks. Shah said he wrote to the Speaker National Assembly about the decision of the joint opposition of nominating Barrister Saif from MQM instead of Aftab Sherpao, adding the opposition would also urge the Speaker that committee should start its proceedings from Monday (May 23).

He further said that in the meeting they also discussed some issues with MQM’s delegation which according to him have now been sorted out. However, sources said that during the meeting the opposition leader Khursheed Shah and PTI vice-chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed displeasure over the MQM’s earlier decision of parting ways with joint opposition without giving any indication.

They said both Khursheed Shah and Shah Mehmood Qureshi were of the opinion that the MQM could have raised their concerns before the platform of the combined opposition instead of parting ways and contacting the Speaker for seeking representation in the committee.

However, representatives of different opposition parties in the meeting at Khurshid Shah’s chamber, decided to accept the MQM in the combined opposition and conditionally give representation from opposition side that MQM would publicly announce that it is part of the joint opposition and back the decision of the opposition.

MQM’s Farooq Sattar said his party wanted investigation into the Panama Papers allegations. Murad Saeed, PTI Member of the National Assembly, said that MQM was in a state of confusion due to various issues engulfing the party inside and outside the country.

However, he said that various MQM leaders gave contradictory statements on the issue of the Panama Papers and the combined opposition should be mindful of the “unexpected” nature of MQM.-Business Recorder