Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said on Thursday his party would reject any judicial commission to probe the Panama leaks if it is formed on the basis of a letter written by the prime minister last month, maintaining that there will be no negotiation over the opposition’s terms of reference (ToRs) for the investigations.
Speaking with a private television channel on Thursday evening, Imran said that it was better to drop the idea of investigations if any clause in the opposition’s ToRs is omitted.
PM Nawaz rebuffs opposition's clamour over Panama leaks
Earlier in the week, as many as nine opposition parties spent nearly two days thrashing out a five-page long ToRs with 15 specific questions for the probe.
Opposition parties have already rejected the ToRs formulated by the government – and the prime minister has said the chief justice of Pakistan has the power to amend them.
But just a day after they had finalised their ToRs, the opposition seems to have developed differences.
Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah on Thursday said that he was willing to speak to the government if they had objections over any of the clauses in the ToRs.
But Imran told the media after a party meeting on Thursday evening that they will not negotiate on any clause in the ToRs, vowing that the draft the opposition had thrashed out was final.
Imran Khan demands commission headed by CJP to probe Panama Papers revelations
According to the ToRs proposed by the opposition, a special Panama Papers inquiry and trial act shall be introduced to investigate the foreign and domestic assets of the prime minister and all other Pakistanis named in the leaks. The bill shall be formulated with the consensus of the opposition.
Further, the commission will be headed by the Supreme Court chief justice and comprise two more apex court judges, who shall be nominated by the CJP himself.
Meanwhile, the PTI has decided to mobilise support to force the government to accept their ToRs.
“We have decided to contact bar associations across the country, and other segments of society to unite the nation on ToRs and pressurise the government over a fair probe” Naeemul Haq, a central leader of PTI, told The Express Tribune on Thursday after a party meeting.
The Panama leaks and Pakistani politics
PTI leaders had met on Thursday to discuss the issue Panama leaks, their ongoing protest movement against government and incidents of manhandling of women at two PTI rallies.
Harassment probe report
Haq who heads PTI committee to probe incidents of manhandling and harassment of women at PTI rallies in Islamabad and Lahore over the past two weeks, said his panel will present its report to party chief tomorrow (Saturday).
PTI chief had constituted a five member committee to investigate the matter within a week after several women supporters of Imran approached him and complained that their women wing leadership never bothered to look after supporters in the ladies enclosure.
The PTI leadership accuses the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz of infiltrating their workers into PTI rallies and orchestrating the incidents of harassment to defame the party.
Meanwhile, PTI has decided to make better arrangements for women participants in its future rallies and constitute a volunteer force to guard ladies enclosures.
It has also decided to make ladies enclosures at a distance from men’s.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2016.
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