Panama leaks: Govt should do more

NO doubt, the Government tried to address the challenge thrown by Panama Papers at the very outset but there are clear indications that the issue is not going to subside and it would continue to cause tremors in national politics. Apart from the extraordinary interest being taken by media and some circles, proceedings of the National Assembly, which were devoted to the issue, sent a loud and unambiguous message that the opposition was in no mood to spare the Government over a God-given opportunity.
The initiative of the Prime Minister to constitute a Commission has not evoked much favourable response, rather the opposition has rejected the idea and demanded the Government to go for some transparent mechanism to investigate allegations against the family of the PM. In the first place, the Premier announced setting up of a high level ‘Judicial’ Commission but now spokesmen of the ruling party maintains, it would be an ‘Inquiry’ Commission, which means no serving judge would be assigned the task. The opposition, therefore, wants either formation of a fully empowered Commission, which could have the authority to engage firms for forensic audit of trail of the money involved or investigations by an international audit firm of repute. We believe that it is one of the biggest crises that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has faced ever since assumption of office in June 2013. It has more implications than previous crises as allegations against family of the Prime Minister have been levelled not by some internal vested interests but a third foreign source. This, coupled with mishandling of the issue of arrest of RAW agent Kulbhushan, is going to dent the overall image and reputation of the Government and the Prime Minister. In his address to nation, the Prime Minister explained in detail business activities of his family, which reflects his sincerity but given the prevailing environment, the issue could hinder the much-needed political stability for months to come. Objection to Commission is somewhat understandable as right from Hamoordur Rehman Commission, we have had numerous such bodies in the past but their outcome did not satisfy people because of various reasons and therefore, the Government will have to do more to pacify agitating minds.

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