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Govt, Opposition members unable to break deadlock over ToRs

Islamabad (Online): Government and Opposition members of the parliamentary committee formed to cater the Terms of References (TORs) of the Panama Leaks issue were unable to break the deadlock over the matter during another meeting of both sides.

While talking to media persons after the meeting Pakistan People Party (PPP) senior leader Aitzaz Ahsan said that there was no development in the eight meeting of the ToRs committee.

“We did show flexibility to the extent we could, but the government didn’t try to resolve the matter,” he said.

He said that after consultation it will be decided that when next meeting will be held. “We want that accountability should be done without giving immunity,” he added.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi told media that there was zero progress in the meeting and deadlock still persisted.

Tariq Bashir Cheema member committee from PML-Q league said that members from the government want to exclude the PM name from the list but opposition will not do this. He added that “We have clear stance that investigation should be held from PM and his children,” he added.

On the other hand Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique while talking to media stated that it is government’s priority to frame consensus Terms of Reference to probe allegations levelled in the Panama Papers. He said that dictatorial mindset of a particular political party would not be allowed to dominate the entire issue.

The minister said the prime objective of the Parliamentary Committee on ToRs to look for a solution acceptable to everyone. He said any legislation to probe Panama Papers should be perpetual instead of time or person specific.

The minister said the committee members should find a way which was acceptable for both sides. He added the desire to hold accountability of a single person was not acceptable, adding target of two political parties was only the personality of prime minister and his family.

He said these parties while holding dialogue were also talking about launching protest. Saad said some parties wanted to include terms which were not suitable for democracy. Dictatorial thinking of anybody would not be allowed to be imposed, he added.

Before, the meeting of committee consultation meeting of united opposition was held in Senator Aitzaz Ahsan’s Chamber attended by Shaik Rasheed Ahmed, three member of MQM including Mian Muhammad Atiq Shaikh, Khalid Maqbool Sadiqqi and Barrister Saif.
After the opposition meeting Shaik Rasheed stated to media that if the government does not want then opposition will have to approach court and people.

The parliamentary committee comprising six members each from the government and the opposition held its first meeting on May 25.
The committee was set up to come up ToRs for the proposed inquiry commission after Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali refused the federal government’s request to form a judicial commission to investigate the Panama leaks, saying it will take years to complete its proceedings with the provided Terms of Reference. The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government has been facing immense pressure from opposition parties since the massive leak of tax data from Panamanian Law firm Mosack Fonseca.
The leaked data revealed offshore business interests of several world leaders, their friends and members of their families. Names of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children also appeared in the data, stirring up a political storm in Pakistan.