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Deadlock persists over ToRs of Panama Papers commission

Deadlock persists over ToRs of Panama Papers commission

ISLAMABAD: A meeting of bipartisan parliamentary committee once again ended in a deadlock on Tuesday as lawmakers sat to finalize the Terms of References (ToRs) for the proposed judicial commission to probe offshore business interest of Pakistanis, with both the sides accusing each other for the impasse.

Speaking to media, Pakistan People’s Party leader Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said it seems opposition’s proposals are not acceptable for the government. He said the opposition accepted three of four ToRs presented by the government and suggested amendment in the fourth. He said the government has rejected the amendments suggested by the opposition.

PTI senior leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said sitting in the committee would be useless if it didn’t come up with ToRS in its next meeting that would take place on Friday.

The parliamentary committee comprising six members each from the government and the opposition held its first meeting on May 25 and has yet to come up with Terms of References.

The committee is to finalize ToRs for the proposed inquiry commission after Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali refused the federal government’s request to form a judicial commission to investigate the Panama leaks, saying it will take years to complete its proceedings with the provided Terms of Reference.

In a written response to a letter by the federal government earlier this month, the chief justice raised a set of objections to the notification from the federal government.

The chief justice pointed out that the formation of a commission under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act, 1956 would only “result in the constitution of a toothless commission, which will serve no useful purpose, except giving bad name to it”.

The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government has been facing immense pressure from opposition parties since the massive leak of tax data from Panamanian Law firm Mosack Fonseca.

The leaked data revealed offshore business interests of several world leaders, their friends and members of their families. Names of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children also appeared in the data, stirring up a political storm in Pakistan.

Many other prominent Pakistani personalities have also been named in the revelations. The documents identify many business tycoons and politicians including late two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to have allegedly used tax havens.

Courtesy : TheNews



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