Panama Leaks lead ruling, opposition leaders to London

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PTI to up the ante in coming days

Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad—In the wake of uproar and stir created by Panama leaks in national politics, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan along with party leaders Jahangir Tareen and Aleem Khan as well as Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan of PML-N became the latest political leaders both from the ruling and opposition parties who left for London on Thursday.
Their departure comes a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in London for what his office said is medical treatment at a time when he is under fire from opposition parties for his family’s off shore accounts exposed by Panama leaks. Apart from his other engagements in London, the PTI Chief is all set to meet two companies having expertise in forensic tax audits. Talking to the reporters before departure, Imran Khan himself stated that he will be meeting the companies to start an independent probe on the Sharif family. According to sources, the ruling PML (N) is perturbed over Imran Khans sojourn to London and his partys plans for another march this time on Raiwind.
Sources said that the PTI is not going to sit silent on the Panama papers as they do not want to miss this opportunity after the failure of sit-in in Islamabad which badly dented the popularity of the PTI. The PTI wants to show itself as the real opposition party in the country by raising the issue of Panama Papers not only within the parliament but also on the streets, the sources said adding if other opposition parties did not join the PTI for the long march, the party is bent upon sailing the boat alone with the intent to gain the ground lost during the sit-in. Nawaz Sharif cancelled scheduled visits to Karachi and then Turkey, while Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also cancelled a scheduled visit to Washington for IMF and World Bank meetings as follow up of the PMs visit to the UK for medical reasons.
Political experts say the Prime Minister has not taken a politically correct decision to leave the country at a time when the opposition parties are exerting pressure on the government. The government circles also believe that the Panama disclosures of his sons involvement in offshore business definitely had its political costs.
The day news of the Panama Papers broke, Imran Khan claimed that the revelations in the Panama Papers vindicated his party’s stance and reiterated his call for fresh elections and probes by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Federal Board of Revenue, and the Election Commission of Pakistan.
As Imran Khan rejected a one-member judicial commission announced by the PM to probe his family, calling instead for a forensic audit by NAB, and then proposed the name of Dr Shoaib Suddle to initiate a thorough investigation into the financial holdings of the PM, his party shows no sign of letting the issue subside.
In an address to the nation, the PTI chief had demanded that PM Nawaz Sharifs government form an inquiry commission led by the Chief Justice of Pakistan to probe the premier and his family following the startling revelations made in the Panama data leaks. He had given government time till Apr 24 to take appropriate action, otherwise he would announce his future course of action.

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