Nawaz to an­swer queries on Panama Leaks in NA on Fri­day

$12b trans­ferred to off­shore com­pa­nies: Shah Mehmood

Pakistan Observer - - FRONT PAGE - SOPHIA SID­DIQUI

IS­LAM­ABAD—The op­po­si­tion par­ties con­tin­ued their boy­cott of the na­tional assem­bly pro­ceed­ings on Tues­day say­ing they will not re­turn to the house as long as Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif does not come in the lower house to re­spond to their queries on Panama papers.

Ris­ing on a point of or­der, Leader of the Op­po­si­tion Syed Khur­shid Shah re­it­er­ated the op­po­si­tion’s de­mand that the Prime Min­is­ter should take the Par­lia­ment into the con­fi­dence on the Panama Papers is­sue. He said the op­po­si­tion wants to main­tain the re­spect and deco­rum of the House and does not want to vi­ti­ate the at­mos­phere.

Re­spond­ing to the op­po­si­tion leader’s con­cerns, Min­is­ter for In­for­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Per­vaiz Rashid as­sured that the prime min­is­ter will at­tend the ses­sion on Fri­day and an­swer all ques­tions to be raised by them about Panama papers.

“The Prime Min­is­ter was hold­ing the of­fice for the third time and he al­ways feels plea­sure to at­tend ses­sions of the Na­tional Assem­bly,” Rashid said

He said the gov­ern­ment had started the process for con­sti­tut­ing com­mis­sion on de­mand of the op­po­si­tion and was con­sid­er­ing pre­par­ing joint Terms Of Ref­er­ences (TORs) in con­sul­ta­tion with the op­po­si­tion.

The min­is­ter said the Prime Min­is­ter wanted to present him­self be­fore the com­mis­sion but now the op­po­si­tion had come with a new de­mand and ask­ing the Leader of the House to come to the par­lia­ment and re­ply to their ques­tions.

“To­day (Tues­day) the Prime Min­is­ter will at­tend the al­ready sched­uled meet­ing of na­tional in­sti­tu­tions and to­mor­row he will go to Ta­jik­istan. There­fore, the Prime Min­is­ter will at­tend the pro­ceed­ings of the House on Fri­day, , he said.

How­ever, Leader of the Op­po­si­tion, Khur­sheed Shah said that the op­po­si­tion would also come to the House on Fri­day if the Prime Min­is­ter would at­tend the ses­sion.

Mean­while, the op­po­si­tion par­ties have jointly firmed up a ques­tion­naire to be asked from the Prime Min­is­ter on Fri­day. Ac­cord­ing to sources, the ques­tion­naire in­cludes a se­ries of ques­tions about the off­shore wealth of Sharif fam­ily in­clud­ing as to how the money was shifted abroad.

Talk­ing to me­dia men out­side NA, Pak­istan Peo­ples Party leader Syed Khur­shid Shah along with op­po­si­tion lead­ers said that Par­lia­ment is

the con­stituency of Prime Min­is­ter, so he can ex­plain the Panama Leaks is­sue in the Par­lia­ment, adding that we want an­swers of five ques­tions to re­solve the is­sue in­stead of “Go Nawaz Go” slo­gans.

Only democ­racy can strengthen the coun­try and gov­ern­ment would re­ceive dam­age if it de­lay in so­lu­tion of the is­sue, Shah said adding that ear­lier we have de­manded the ju­di­cial com­mis­sion and now it is op­po­si­tion’s de­mand that PM should clar­ify the sit­u­a­tion in Assem­bly.

The house has been in­formed that PM would come in Assem­bly on Fri­day, Khrshid Shah said adding that we would leak the pa­per for PM to­day (Wed­nes­day) in NA so that PM could come with full prepa­ra­tion. We want so­lu­tion of Panama Leaks is­sue in Na­tional Assem­bly.

We are not aware of any com­mit­tee formed by the gov­ern­ment for di­a­logues with op­po­si­tion Shah said adding that we are ready to hold talks on the is­sue.

Syed Khur­sheed Shah de­manded of Nawaz Sharif should to par­lia­ment into con­fi­dence on the is­sue. He said the op­po­si­tion be­lieved in democ­racy and supremacy of the par­lia­ment.

Shah claimed that the ToRs of the op­po­si­tion were not prime min­is­ter-spe­cific, rather they would equally ap­pli­ca­ble to all those named in Panama Papers.

Mean­while Pak­istan Tehreek-e-In­saf (PTI) leader, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the prime min­is­ter should present his stance in the Par­lia­ment and clar­ify his po­si­tion on Panama leaks, rather than mak­ing speeches else­where in the coun­try.

“We do not want confrontation, but we would con­tinue to boy­cott the ses­sions un­less the PM takes op­po­si­tion into con­fi­dence on terms of ref­er­ence (ToRs) for in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the leaks,” he said.

He said the gov­ern­ment and the op­po­si­tion should sit to­gether to dis­cuss ToRs for the pro­posed com­mis­sion to probe al­le­ga­tions sur­fac­ing af­ter Panama Papers dis­clo­sures.

Ear­lier, the op­po­si­tion walked out of the Se­nate. Leader of the Op­po­si­tion in the Se­nate, Aitzaz Ah­san said Nawaz Sharif and his fam­ily are ac­cused of cor­rup­tion; they should present de­tails of in­come tax and off­shore as­sets of his fam­ily. Aitzaz said sec­re­tary fi­nance of Balochis­tan was ar­rested for keep­ing Rs700 mil­lion at his home se­cretly, while no ac­tion is be­ing seen against the ones hid­ing Rs7 bil­lion.

Pak­istan Mus­lim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mushahidul­lah Khan re­sponded say­ing that PTI mem­bers, Aleem Khan, Je­hangir Ta­reen and Zulfi Bukhari also have their names in Panama Papers.

“There is a need for a le­gal fo­rum to re­solve such is­sues, but the op­po­si­tion boy­cotted one such fo­rum,” he said.

PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz noted that im­me­di­ately af­ter re­lease of Panama Papers, the prime min­is­ter vol­un­teered him­self and his fam­ily for ac­count­abil­ity.

He said the op­po­si­tion did not ex­pect that the gov­ern­ment would go for a com­mis­sion of Supreme Court judges, but the gov­ern­ment opted for that to come clear of charges lev­eled by the op­po­si­tion.

He said the ToRs of the gov­ern­ment were more com­pre­hen­sive than those of the op­po­si­tion and that the op­po­si­tion had failed to come up with con­struc­tive crit­i­cism of the gov­ern­ment’s draft.

Ad­dress­ing Tax Bar As­so­ci­a­tion in La­hore, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, $12 bil­lion were trans­ferred to off­shore com­pa­nies from Pak­istan.

He said, lead­ers are talk­ing about rev­o­lu­tion in the coun­try which can­not be pos­si­ble by dig­ging roads to build metro train.

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