Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said on Thursday that the Panama issue cannot be resolved through rallies or speeches and that there must be a forum to determine truth behind allegations of offshore companies.
He said the government was ready to sit with the opposition parties to develop consensus on Terms of Reference (ToRs) for a transparent probe into Panama papers.
Nisar said that he had accepted a demand from the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan to conduct an inquiry on the matter from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), but he later backtracked. He added that “the issue has been politicised and if the FIA launches an inquiry, it will not be accepted by the opposition.”
He said the government even offered the probe to be conducted through a parliamentary committee, but the opposition backed out of this demand as well.
Nisar said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was the first one to react to the Panama revelations, adding that the government was sincere in launching a probe into the matter.
He said although the name of the prime minister was not mentioned in papers, the latter promised a transparent inquiry into the matter. “Everything can be discussed and we are ready to carry out a meaningful inquiry,” he added.
Replying to a question, he said Sharif family never said it did not own Mayfair apartment, adding that, in fact, the prime minister himself lived there and conducted meetings.
To another query, Nisar said there was no gulf in relations between the military and civilian government. Civil and military leaderships, during the last one and a half years, conducted regular meetings and the perception that a rift exists between the two is not correct.
Responding to another question, Nisar said that an operation in Punjab was launched after he received intelligence reports about the presence of terrorists in the province.
“After incidents of terrorism in Lahore we needed to conduct some intelligence-based operations about which I was also informed,” he said, adding the combing operation in Punjab was being conducted under the National Action Plan (NAP). He said over the last two years, more than 14,000 intelligence-based operations had been conducted under NAP.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2016.
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