Published On:Thursday, 5 May 2016
Posted by Chaudhry

Panama inquiry: govt turns down opp ToRs

Panama inquiry: govt  turns down opp ToRs

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Wednesday that the Terms of Reference (ToRs) framed by the opposition parties for the judicial commission on the Panama leaks were reflective of their negative intentions and it seemed that their focus was on the prime minister alone.
“One person is being targeted. The opposition did not want to solve this matter; it wanted to continue it in the media. The probe into the Panama Papers’ revelations is being politicised,” said Khan who was flanked by Law Minister Zahid Hamid and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law Zafarullah at a press conference.
He said the ToRs prepared by the opposition parties clearly showed that they were not quite serious in a solid inquiry and curbing corruption and added that a section of the opposition wanted to protect some of their leaders who had offshore companies.
The minister said the opposition should not create confusion and dictate the Supreme Court, adding that the judiciary in Pakistan was fully independent and it could summon anyone for investigation.
Khan said that Pakistan was a democratic country having an independent judiciary. “There are people who put their faith in the Supreme Court if the judgements are given according to their will or wishes,” he added.
The interior minister said that the family of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not the only one to have been named by the Panama Papers; many world leaders were named in there, but Sharif was the first to react to the revelations. He said the government was sincere in launching a probe into the Panama leaks and that was the reason that a judicial commission was being discussed right from the onset.
“Although the name of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not mentioned in the papers, he emphasised on transparent inquiry into the matter.” He said that respectable and reputed former judges of the Supreme Court were reached out to head the investigation and added that the government even offered the probe to be carried out by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). He said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was asked to name any official to head the committee.
“The government was in agreement to investigate the issue through a parliamentary committee, but opposition backed out of this demand as well. They later demanded a commission under the chief justice of Pakistan and we agreed on that too,” Khan said. “There are people who do not want this issue to be probed. They just want it to remain in the media,” he added.
The minister said the government had expressed its willingness to engage the opposition in talks on the Terms of Reference of the commission. He said the opposition should not create hurdles in the way of the investigation. He regretted that the PTI chairman accused the Punjab Police of harassing women at his party’s rally in Lahore on Sunday.
He said a committee having representation from the PTI, media and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) would probe the matter. He asked the PTI and the media to provide photographs of those who misbehaved women in the rally.
Answering a question, he said the opposition parties had only one agenda and that was to target the prime minister. He said the prime minister had made history by presenting himself before the apex court.
Law Minister Zahid Hamid presented an overall comparison of the ToRs framed by the government and the opposition. He said that government’s ToRs were more comprehensive and the opposition just targeted the prime minister. He said the government was expecting positive suggestions from the opposition. “But unfortunately the opposition was not serious in bringing facts before the people of the country. It was not fair to limit the judicial commission.”
The government was ready to incorporate opposition’s suggestions into the ToRs, but the opposition couldn’t come up with positive suggestions, he said. It was not a unique matter because usually a sitting government would formulate the ToRs of any commission whenever required like they did in the case of Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission and Abbottabad Commission. He said the prime minister presented himself for accountability despite the fact that his name was not in the Panama Papers.

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