Panama Papers: Hectic political contacts over leaks inquiry

Published: April 20, 2016
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The government and opposition have yet to come up with a way out to investigate the Panama Papers leaks as both spent Tuesday meeting members of other parties to garner support over a procedure.

The prime minister had announced to form an inquiry committee under a former judge to probe the allegations against his family following the leaks.

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However, despite passage of around two weeks, the government is still unclear in finalising mechanism of the inquiry. The opposition is also divided over the issue and is not clear whether it will be a judicial commission under the incumbent top judge or a parliamentary body that will probe the offshore accounts.

On Tuesday, Railways Minister Saad Rafique and Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid met Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq.

After the meeting, the ministers told the media that they wanted to reach consensus on the person who will head the probe panel. They said government had yet to discuss the terms of reference (TORs) with the opposition.

Earlier, the ministers also met Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan leaders Awais Noorani and Pir Ijaz Hashmi.

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The government’s panel headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also met to discuss the TORs for the proposed commission.  According to sources, the committee considered putting the PTI chief Imran Khan’s hospital investment in offshore companies in the TORs to put pressure on the PTI.

It is likely that the government would announce the way out for the probe body on Wednesday (today).

Meanwhile, the PTI also held a meeting to discuss the issue at Imran’s residence in Bani Gala. Talking to reporters, PTI’s Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the government was confusing the whole situation.

“The government should write a letter [as a formal request] to Supreme Court’s chief justice. If he declines heading the commission then that will be considered a clear answer,” he said.

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Earlier, Qureshi also met PPP stalwarts Khursheed Shah and Aitzaz Ahsan. Both the parties agreed that a probe body led by Supreme Court’s chief justice should investigate the matter.

Shah and Aitzaz also met ANP’s Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, who also endorsed the stance to form a probe body under the incumbent top judge.

Aitzaz made it clear that the probe should start from the prime minister, his children and all the members of his extended family including nephews and nieces.  “If the CJP refuses to probe the matter then a joint parliamentary committee can do so and the TORs will be finalised for it,” Shah added.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Apr 20, 2016 - 11:00AM

    What allegations? His son has admitted that the Panama leaks are true. All they need to share with the nation are the ‘sources’ and ‘channels of transfer’ of these funds. Why the need to create so many smoke screens? No Commission is required, the PM needs to come clean.Recommend

  • Nkhan
    Apr 20, 2016 - 12:04PM

    @Shahid… yes i totally agree with this stance… infact why these “No good for any thing” or “traitor” leaders need a commission for such thing….. Documented proofs are there…. verbal and self confessed statements are there… then why need commission….. and i would say that imran khan is also opting for mass blunder… He should go for protest rather than commission n probe…. infact technically there is no need to probe or commission…when things are already proved at one end.Recommend

  • observer
    Apr 20, 2016 - 1:14PM

    @Shahid: Totally agree. But in addition to The PM’s family,there are about 200 othe parties having offshore accounts made public so far- more will be revealed in May- that need to be probed.And the PM’s family is not inclined to reveal the”source”&”channel”volunterily.
    That being so,a commision- with real teeth- is necessary Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Apr 20, 2016 - 2:21PM

    The prime minister had announced to form an inquiry committee under a former judge to probe the allegations against his family following the leaks.
    s sister in law
    Let the prime Minisiter take the courage and return the wealth to the treasury as suggested by his sister in law or publish the statement of the offshore account for the period he was in office? The rest is simply a diversion strategy..

    Rex MinorRecommend

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