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PM Nawaz postpones parliament address on Panama Papers

PM Nawaz postpones parliament address on Panama Papers

ISLAMABAD / DUSHANBE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has accused the opposition of needless public uproar on Panama leaks since he has already written to the chief justice to investigate the offshore accounts of Pakistanis. The premier is expected to address parliament on Monday to clarify his position.

“Some politicians are behaving like a commission within themselves and are giving their verdicts based on unproven allegations,” he said while speaking to reporters onboard his aircraft on his way back to Islamabad from Tajikistan on Thursday.

Not answerable to opposition on Panama Papers, says PM Nawaz

PM Nawaz, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and Kyrgyz PM Jeenbekov Sooranbai earlier formally inaugurated the Central Asia-South Asia (Casa-1000) electricity project in the Tursunzade city of Tajikistan.

The government has been under immense pressure since the Panama Papers named three children of PM Nawaz as the beneficiaries of offshore holdings managed by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Talking to journalists, PM Nawaz said there was no justification for the opposition’s hue and cry, especially after he had requested the chief justice to start the inquiry into Panama leaks. “It is my genuine desire the commission led by the Supreme Court chief justice is formed at the earliest,” he said while once again defending his family’s fortunes.

He believed the opposition’s criticism was not aimed at bringing improvements to the country but was only meant to target him. The premier urged the opposition to instead follow a development-oriented agenda as negative politics had always proved detrimental to the country.

Parliamentary address

After his return, the PM held a consultative meeting with his party leaders and discussed the opposition’s moves inside and outside of parliament. The premier was to address the National Assembly today (Friday) to clarify his position on Panama leaks but his policy statement was rescheduled to Monday on the opposition’s request, insiders told The Express Tribune.

Opposition preps seven blunt questions for PM Nawaz over Panama leaks

The opposition had asked NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to allow its five lawmakers to express their points of view before the PM’s address. The treasury benches then approached the speaker and asked the same to explain their stance as well.

While the speaker suggested allowing treasury benches to speak on Friday and opposition lawmakers on Saturday, the opposition rejected the proposal and wanted all speakers to express their points of view on the same day. The sources said the speaker approved the idea after getting the PM’s consent.

Casa-1000 inauguration

At the inauguration, the leaders of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan termed Casa-1000 a “win-win and mutually rewarding” initiative for all stakeholder states.

PM Nawaz said the project would help achieve a number of economic, social and environmental benefits besides reduction of energy deficit, creation of jobs and improvement in trade among all four countries.

Under Casa-1000, Pakistan will by 2018 start getting 1,000MW from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan via Afghanistan, which will also receive 300MW from the 1,300MW power project. On relations with Central Asia, the PM said these states had expressed great interest in enhancing connectivity with Pakistan and using Gwadar Port. With Central Asia and China having almost half of the world population, they offer vast potential for economic activity.

PM Nawaz to address parliament after opposition boycott over Panama leaks

PM Nawaz said Pakistan wanted peaceful relations with all its neighbours and such development projects could prove helpful in removing any mistrust among the countries.

“I am confident the day is not far when South Asia will completely integrate with Central Asia through energy and trade corridors, spurring economic and social development and bring prosperity to the region,” he added, terming the project an important step towards the planned Central Asia, South Asia Regional Electricity Market (Casarem).

Surplus electricity

Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Tajikistan have been pursuing the electricity trading arrangements under Casarem. Casa-1000, which comes as the initial project, envisages supplying surplus electric power available in summer months from Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The 1,200km electricity link backed by Washington and the World Bank is set to connect the four countries by 2018 at an estimated cost of $1,170 million. The total tariff of the energy is calculated at 9.48 cents/Kwh.

Courtesy : Express Tribune



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