Govt, Opp appear with separate bills

Panama Papers probe

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—After the failure of TORs committee to reach any consensus vis-à-vis Panama Papers investigation, the government and the opposition parties Wednesday surfaced with separate bills for investigation into offshore companies- the matter on which the PTI has already rocked the roads while the PPP is considering to also take to the streets, if as sources say, the government tried to bulldoze its bill in the parliament.
The Federal Cabinet on Wednesday decided to introduce Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Bill 2016 in the National Assembly in the coming session beginning on Friday.
Its meeting was held in Islamabad with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the chair.
Later, briefing newsmen on the decisions of the cabinet along with Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Bill 2016 aimed at investigation into Panama Papers, the inquiry commission will be empowered in the light of the letter by Supreme Court Chief Justice.
United Opposition filed a private bill on Wednesday titled Panama papers Inquiry Bill in the Senate aimed at holding an across the board inquiry of those who names have appeared in the Panama leaks.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan along with other members of the opposition submitted the bill to the Secretary of the Senate.
Talking to media, Aitzaz Ahsan accompanied by Senator Farhatullah Babar and Qamar Zaman Kaira expressed hope that the government would support the passage of the bill. He said that they have proposed Forensic Audit of the accounts abroad because otherwise, it is not possible to identify the black money.
Aitzaz Ahsan said the bill proposes that the inquiry commission be headed by the Supreme Court judge and be fully empowered. He said there would be across the board accountability of those whose names have appeared in the Panama papers. He clarified that the opposition does not want to trap the prime minister.
He hoped that the Prime Minister and his spokesmen would accept and support the bill open heartedly. He said we have formulated a bill that has no discrimination. We expect the PM to present himself for accountability. The PPP Senator said investigation must be held into the illegal transfer of money, abroad. The PPP sources said that the party wants to take up the issue of the Panama Papers in the Parliament.
They said if the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government bulldozes this ‘Bill’ in the Parliament then the party would decide this issue on streets. The sources said the opposition parties have the same stance on the Terms of Reference (ToRs) for investigation of Panama Leaks. “If the PPP fails to get the Bill passed from the Parliament then it would start a mass mobilization campaign next month after Eid,” they added.

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