Panama Papers probe: Imran terms PM’s inquiry commission 'an eyewash'

Will announce plan of action tomorrow and hold protests if demands on inquiry commission not met, says PTI chairman

News Desk April 23, 2016
Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan addressing a press conference in Islamabad on April 23, 2016.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has termed the judicial commission formed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to probe into Panama Papers revelations 'an eyewash', saying the opposition was not taken into confidence on the terms of references (ToRs).

“This is an eyewash and joke with the nation and is aimed at burying justice and accountability,” he said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday.

Almost three weeks after the leaks revealed that the prime minister’s three children were among dozens of influential people from across the globe having offshore companies in tax havens, the government sent a letter to the Supreme Court registrar, requesting chief justice of Pakistan to form an inquiry commission under broad-based terms of references.

Panama Papers: PA opposition set to devise agitation strategy

“The terms of this reference were not finalised with the opposition,” Imran said, adding that if the government was serious for accountability, it may have formed an inquiry commission based on mutually agreed TORs.

“This commission does not have powers more than that of a civil court and we totally reject it,” he said.

The PTI leader added he would announce a future plan of action tomorrow (Sunday) as to when his party will begin protest if the government does not fulfil their demands.

According to Imran, the ToRs should have only mentioned the prime minister's name as he is the head of the state while others can be inquired later, thus avoiding delay.

The terms of references, he said, have instead made the commission and the premier dubious, proving PM Nawaz is scared of accountability.

Probing Panama leaks: SCBA rejects inquiry body’s ToRs

The cricketer-turned-politician was of the view that head of states in democratic governments must have moral authority and this is what the prime minister has already lost. “We also object on the terms of references that the government, with the single stroke of the pen, can abolish the commission.”

He also demanded the commission may acquire services of a forensic audit firm as well as investigation bureau including the ISI, FBR, NAB and even Nadra for internal and external probe of foreign accounts.

Imran said he was dismayed to listen to the prime minister’s speech as it did not tend to answer the allegations of tax evasion, money laundering, corruption and declaration of assets.

Panama Papers probe: Will go home if the charges stick, says Nawaz

On April 5, PM Nawaz had formed a judicial commission led by a former judge of the Supreme Court, which was rejected by the opposition demanding probe led by the chief justice and audit by an international firm.

A massive leak of 11.5 million tax documents on April 3 had exposed the secret offshore dealings of world leaders and celebrities. Among those named were three of PM Nawaz’s children – Maryam, Hasan and Hussain – with the records showing they owned London real estate through offshore companies administrated by the firm.

The documents, from around 214,000 offshore entities, came from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm with offices in more than 35 countries.

Imran running away from accountability: Pervez Rashid

Meanwhile, Information Minister Pervez Rashid said Imran was running away from the same commission he had demanded.

“Instead of opposing the inquiry commission, the PTI chairman should support it the way we are supporting and prove that he acknowledged the authority of the Supreme Court and other institutions of this country,” he said.

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