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All eyes on PPP’s gathering at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh

ISLAMABAD: The country’s tax officials received a poor response to the notices they had sent to the owners of offshore companies, as revealed in the Panama Papers and Bahamas leaks, according to sources.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) had sent notices to 444 individuals, who were said to own companies in nine tax havens in the world — the British Virgin Islands (271), Bahamas (25), ISLAMABAD: Traditional gathering of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh this year has acquired significance as the country’s political leadership is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the party’s meeting being held on Dec 27 (tomorrow) — the day the party had set as a deadline for acceptance of its four demands by the government.

The presence of former president Asif Ali Zardari at the Bhuttos’ family mausoleum after two years had also made the ninth death anniversary of his wife and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto a special occasion and all eyes are now set on his expected speech on the day.

Mr Zardari, who returned to the country on December 24 after ending his 18-month self-imposed exile, had not attended the last year’s gathering and the meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) had been presided over by young chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for the first time.

Addressing a rally in October, Mr Bhutto-Zardari had set Dec 27 as the deadline for acceptance of the four demands and threatened to launch a forceful protest campaign against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, if the demands were not accepted.

The PPP’s four demands include appointment of a full-fledged foreign minister, formation of a parliamentary committee on national security, passage of the opposition’s bill seeking investigations into the Panamagate scam and implementation of the resolution passed during the multi-party conference on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) held in May last year.

In the resolution, the parties had called for construction of the western route to provide benefits to the small provinces.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari, now 28, had been running the party show alone since August last year due to the absence of his father from the country. Recently, the party leadership has announced that he is considering to enter electoral politics. Some leaders have even hinted that he would soon contest a by-election from his native Larkana city and would assume the office of the leader of opposition in the National Assembly.

Later, Opposition Leader Syed Khurshid Shah stated that he was ready to quit the office for the young party chairman, giving credence to the reports that Mr Bhutto-Zardari might contest the by-elections.

When contacted, PPP spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar said the CEC meeting was expected to be jointly presided over by Mr Bhutto-Zardari and his father Asif Zardari.

He said the final announcement of the party’s future course of action was expected to be made by the leadership on Tuesday.

Answering a question, Mr Babar did not rule out the possibility of launching street protests against the government, but ruled out the possibility of staging indefinite sit-ins or lockdown as had been done by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

About the four demands, he said the opposition had already managed to get its Panama Papers bill passed from the Senate and considered it a positive development.

Sources in the party told Dawn that besides discussing the strategy related to Panamagate scam, the PPP leaders would also discuss the ongoing actions of the Rangers in Karachi and other areas of Sindh. Besides this, they said, the leadership would also discuss the party’s re-organisation matters in the light of its dismal performance in the recently-held local government elections, particularly in Punjab.

The future relationship with other opposition parties, particularly with the PTI, would also come under discussion in the meeting.

courtesy : dawn news



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