Opposition criticise ‘commission’ to probe Sharif family

Islamabad, April 6 (IANS) Pakistan’s opposition parties have criticised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision to form a judicial commission to probe his family in ‘Panama Papers’ revelations.

The Pakistan Peoples Party termed Sharif’s address to the nation on Tuesday “most unfortunate”, because he “blamed his woes on the policies of Zulfikar and Benazir Bhutto to deflect the storm brewing as a result of the Panama Papers”.

“Instead of answering questions raised in the leaked documents, Sharif resorted to a blame-game against PPP leaders,” Dawn online quoted Farhatullah Babar, the party’s spokesperson, as saying in a statement.

Responding to Sharif’s claims regarding the detention of the cargo ship ‘Jonathan’, Babar said: “He conveniently forgot that the cargo ship was held up by customs authorities after it was found to be carrying a sugar plant instead of the intended steel scrap cargo.”

The prime minister, Babar said, would do well to answer questions raised by the leaked documents, rather than playing a blame-game.

Talking to a private television channel, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Asad Umar claimed that the whole nation was disappointed over the “one-member judicial commission” formed to probe the matter.

“Sharif said whoever has a complaint against him or his family shall go to the commission and prove it, which is a joke since it is the PM who needs to prove his innocence,” said Umar.

PTI spokesman Naeemul Haq said Sharif had not specified who would choose the judge to head the proposed judicial commission, or whether it will be empowered to examine Sharif family’s assets abroad as well.

Jamaat-e-Islami emir Sirajul Haq said if Sharif sincerely desires a probe, he should immediately hand over the matter to the National Accountability Bureau.

He said given the nature of the allegations, inquiry into the matter is not the job of a retired judge. Rather a full-fledged investigation agency should do the task.

Or else the matter should be entrusted to the Chief Justice of Pakistan who should appoint a judicial commission comprising three senior most judges of the apex court for the purpose, he suggested.

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