Nawaz to answer queries on Panama Leaks in NA on Friday
$12b transferred to offshore companies: Shah Mehmood
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.