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Deadlock on Panama leaks ToRs

15 June, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: Government and opposition members of the parliamentary committee on the Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the judicial commission on the Panama leaks were unable to break the deadlock on the ToRs at Tuesday’s meeting.

Talking to media persons after the meeting, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader Aitzaz Ahsan said the ToRs committee did not make any progress at its eighth meeting. “We showed as much flexibility as we could, but the government didn’t try to resolve the matter,” he said. He said that decision on the next meeting of the committee would be made after consultations. “We want everyone to be held accountable; there should be no immunity for anyone,” he added.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said there was zero progress on the ToRs at the meeting and deadlock persisted.

Tariq Bashir Cheema, member the committee from the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), said that government’s representatives in the committee wanted prime minister’s name excluded from the ToRs, but the opposition would not do this. He said, “We have a clear stance that the prime minister and his children should be investigated.”

On the other hand, Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said it was government’s priority to frame consensus ToRs to probe the Panama leaks. He said that dictatorial mindset of a particular political party would not be allowed to dominate the committee proceedings. He said the prime objective of the parliamentary committee on the ToRs was to look for a solution acceptable to everyone. He said that any legislation on the Panama leaks probe should be futuristic instead of temporary.

Rafique said that committee members should find a way acceptable to both sides. He said that some people wanted accountability of a single person, but this was not acceptable to the ruling party. He said that prime minister and his family were the target of the two political parties. He said these parties were holding talks on the one hand and talking about a protest movement on the other. He said that ToRs suggested by some parties were not suitable for democracy.

Earlier, the united opposition held a consultative meeting in Senator Aitzaz Ahsan’s chamber. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and MQM leaders Mian Ateeq Shaikh, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Muhammad Ali Saif were also present at the meeting.

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