Pakistani opposition steps up pressure over Panama leaks

Islamabad, April 23 (IANS) Pakistani opposition parties have discussed various probe options as also stepped up pressure as the Panama Papers’ issue continues to haunt Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

The opposition leader in the national assembly Khursheed Shah, called on Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday to discuss several options to investigate the scandal involving the offshore accounts of Sharif family and other Pakistanis, Dawn online reported.

Sirajul Haq suggested that while Pakistani government was writing a letter to the supreme court chief justice to set up an inquiry commission, opposition parties should send a similar request to the chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) urging him not to turn down the government’s request.

The CJP should be requested not only to probe the scandal, but also help bring back the looted money from abroad and announce exemplary punishment for those who committed the offence.

The Pakistani People’s Party on Friday rejected Sharif’s proposed mechanism for the investigation into the scandal.

According to the party, the speech by Sharif while addressing the nation, further strengthened the arguments of his opponents instead of clearing his family’s position.

“There was no clear line in the speech. I am sorry to say but the speech fell short,” said Senator Saeed Ghani.

He said Sharif’s speech had made matters more confusing and raised more doubts about his family.

“It is the time to address the Panama Papers revelations, not to go for counter allegations.”

A few hours after the prime minister’s address to the nation in which Sharif said he would resign if proven guilty by the Panama Papers probe, Muttahida Qaumi Movement member of national assembly Farooq Sattar said the first mistake made by Sharif was to address the nation without any consultations.

Qureshi said the party had no issues if the investigations were conducted in a transparent manner.

“After today’s development and success in the assembly, I would advise the opposition to come to the same table to constitute unanimous terms of reference,” he said.

Leader of the opposition in the assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said he would apologise to Sharif if the allegations made against him regarding the Panama leaks proved to be false.

“We don’t have any personal enmity with the prime minister. We want to improve the system,” said Shah on Friday evening.

“Writing a letter to the CJP is not the solution. Only an international forensic audit can settle this issue.”

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari retweeted old footage of Sharif asking former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to resign and said: “PM is yet 2 (to) present himself b4 (before) parliament & explain himself. He should follow his own advise & resign #panamapapers.”

PM Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, took to social media to show how proud she was of her father and tweeted: “Good to see a confident, resolute & daring Prime Minister taking liars & conspirators head on. Well Done Mr. Prime Minister, well done!”

She also tweeted: “No person guilty of wrongdoing could’ve taken such a courageous decision. Shows his faith in Allah & righteousness of cause. Am proud of my PM.”

When PPP leader contacted Qureshi, the PTI leader said his party would take a decision after going through contents of the proposed letter.

In a move to put more pressure on the government not to back out of its promised probe, the opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly Mian Mahmoodur Rashid, visited Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid e Azam Group leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.

Both the leaders demanded that instead of repeatedly addressing the nation, Sharif should resign before setting up the proposed commission.

1 Comment

  1. Any person who has been following domestic and international news and currents affairs and has kept his eyes and ears open, especially when it comes to Pakistan, knows that Nawaz Sharif’s blood is bad and corrupted. This man has amassed wealth and I am not at all surprised if he has Swiss bank accounts and investments in Panama, etc. He has siphoned off a lot of money from Pakistan and left his countrymen impoverished. He is no better or worse off than many Indian politicians, some of whose corruption levels can be categorized in ‘A’ Grade. He has brought plush properties in England and elsewhere. Again, Asif Ali Zardari, Gen. Pervez Musharraf and others are no saints.

    He had a humble beginning and, it has been mentioned by some Pakistani commentator that he, at one time, used to work as a labourer and during the weekends and holidays play cricket with his colleagues. The swing in his fortunes occurred with the advent of Gen. Zia Ul Haq, the ex-military dictator, who screwed up Pakistan. To remain in power, Gen. Zia sent Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to gallows, got involved in siding with Mujahideen fighers in fighting the Soviet occupation of Pakistan. Well, this was not done for free. He got billions of dollars, arms and other aid with which he fuelled the insurgency in Indian Punjab. I wonder how much money he and his cronies, including Nawaz Sharif, pocketed.

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