PTI hints at quitting ToRs committee amid persistent deadlock

WEB DESK: The government and opposition on Friday again failed to make any progress on the Term of References (ToRs) for the proposed judicial commission to probe into the Panama leaks.

Noting no headway, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) hinted at distancing itself from the Parliamentary Committee on Panama Papers and etc as the party’s representative in the body Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters that there was no point left for his party to remain part of the committee anymore.

Qureshi, who is also Vice Chairman of PTI, said that the government was not interested in probing the Panama Leaks, adding that he would update the party chief Imran Khan about the government ‘intention not to proceed’ on probing into Panama leaks.

“The situation has worsened, I don’t see any reason left for us to remain part of the committee anymore,” he said, adding that he does not see any future of the committee after today’s meeting. He further said that other opposition parties should also review their position regarding the committee.

Leader of the opposition in Senate and PPP’s leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan said that the Friday’s meeting with the government representatives proved a mere formality, adding the deadlock on the ToRs continued to persist.

However, the government team, while talking to reporters said that they were serious in formulating consensus on ToRs but accused the opposition of deliberately making the ToRs a person-specific to target only the Prime Minister.

Hasil Khan Bizenjo said that the opposition members in the committee that they would sit with them on June 14 for next meeting of the committee but later told the media that they did not see any future of the committee.

“We will frame the ToRs at any cost and it is a promise with the nation,” he said, adding that the government has no objection on the accountability of the Prime Minister and no law is being framed which will prevent the Prime Minster’s family from accountability process. But any law which only targets the Prime Minister is not acceptable, he added.

Saad Rafiq also stated that any law which only targets the Prime Minister will not be acceptable, adding that the ToRs will be finalised and the court can summon anybody. He said that the government was serious but the opposition’s proposals start with Nawaz Sharif and end on him.

He said that they have explained to the opposition that they were trying to reach to the extreme which is not in the larger interest of the country.

In a press release issued after the meeting, it was stated that the government side circulated among members copies of two documents titled ‘Comparison of Original TORs of the Joint Opposition and the TORs presented on June 07″ and “Comparison of Original TORs of the Joint Opposition and Annexure “A” to the TORs dated 07-06-2016″.

The government side also circulated among the members copies of “A Bill titled, Commission of Inquiry Act, 2016”, drafted by the government side. The Committee discussed the salient features of the ToRs and the Bill and decided to continue further discussions thereon during the next meeting.

Senators Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Aitzaz Ahsan, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo and Ilyas Ahmad Bilour; and Members of the National Assembly Zahid Hamid, Khawaja Saad Raflque, Akram Khan Durrrani, Anusha Rehman Khan, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Sahibzada Tariq Ullah and Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema attended the meeting as members of the Committee. The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Tuesday 14th June, 2016 at 03:00 pm in the Constitution Room, Parliament House, Islamabad. – Business Recorder