ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday chaired a meeting with coalition parties to discuss the future political discourse over the Panama Leaks scandal.According to sources, the meeting called at the PM house, was attended by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami Functional chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, National Party of Pakistan chief Hasil Bizenjo and Pakhtoon Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Achakzai, among other federal ministers.The prime minister took the coalition into confidence and discussed the Terms of Reference submitted by the opposition that lay conditions for a probe on allegations on the PM by the Panama Papers.
Speaking to the media after the meeting ended, Fazlur Rehhman said that government has formally received the TORs however it has reservations over it. “The ToRs submitted by the opposition violate the constitution,” he said.He added that the opposition makes demands but then does not stand by them. “We wrote a letter to the Chief Justice requesting him to probe the allegations by the Panama Papers because the opposition asked us to,” he said.
The Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah wrote a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday, asking the government to hold a dialogue with opposition parties over the ToRs for the inquiry commission investigating the Panama leaks.A high-level meeting at the Prime Minister House rejected the ToRs presented by the opposition, earlier this month.Leaders at the meeting claimed that the document unveiled by the opposition were not ToRs, but a parallel legal system that could not be accepted for any inquiry under relevant laws.
The government argued that the opposition’s TORs were based on ill-intentions aimed at entangling Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.The government had also accused the opposition of mistrusting the legal system and the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Opposition parties are divided on whether they should ask the prime minister to step down until the judicial inquiry is concluded.The terms of reference (ToRs) agreed upon by the opposition, a copy of which was available with Geo News, do not mention any point about the resignation of the prime minister.
According to the ToRs, the opposition has agreed to press the government for a special law – the “PANAMA PAPERS (INQUIRY AND TRIAL) ACT, 2016” – to be passed to facilitate the investigation into the assets, foreign and domestic, of the prime minister and all other Pakistanis named in the Panama Papers.
The joint opposition would call for the constitution of a special judicial commission headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan and comprising of two other Supreme Court judges to be nominated by the Chief Justice