Govt, Opp reach deadlock over ToRs

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—The government and joint opposition reached a deadlock over the Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the Panama leaks judicial commission on Friday.
The deadlock emerged as the 12-member committee met to discuss the ToRs that will form the proposed judicial commission to investigate allegations of Pakistanis holding offshore assets named in the Panama Papers.
The committee will now meet on May 30 at 4pm.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Pakistan People’s Party leader Aitzaz Ahsan said that the joint opposition has presented its 15 points to the government that they wanted to be included in the ToRs. But the government refused to consider them, he said.
He added that no investigation can take place until the joint oppositions ToRs are considered.
He added that the joint opposition had not withdrawn Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifs name from the ToRs. We have included the names of Maryam Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz in our ToRs.
Speaking to the media Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that today the talks did not move forward even an inch.
The government rejected our 15 points. If they reject our proposal we will consider the four-point preamble null and void too.
He added that it was the job of the government to remove the deadlock. We want to move forward. The government in a statement confirmed that it had rejected all 15 points of the joint opposition. The opposition should issue new ToRs, the statement said.
The Government side also circulated among the members a document mentioning relevant legal provisions and comments relating to the 15 questions contained in the said Joint Oppositions ToRs. The Committee agreed to continue its discussion on the Terms of Reference in subsequent meetings.
A 12-member parliamentary committee is in consultation to form the ToRs. Six members from each side are consulting each other to finalize ToRs that will move forward the process of investigating several Pakistanis who have been named in the Panama Papers for allegedly evading taxes through offshore accounts. The government replaced Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique with Law Minister Zahid Hamid today. Senator Hasil Bazinjo, Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Akram Khan Durrani and Anusha Rahman are in the committee. The six members from the joint opposition are Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Ilyas Bilour, Barrister Saifullah, Tariqullah and Tariq Bashir Cheema.

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