ISLAMABAD: PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Friday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had no need to address the nation only to announce a judicial commission on the issue of Panama leaks.

Speaking at a press conference at the PPP media centre here, he said: “Instead of addressing the nation the prime minister could have issued a press release to announce the commission.”

The PPP leader and former information minister held the press conference shortly before the prime minister’s address to the nation and he questioned the reason behind Mr Sharif’s decision to address the nation.

He said Mr Sharif and his family faced new questions whenever they talked about the issue of Panama leaks and establishment of three offshore companies.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said in a statement that the Panama leaks had set off alarm bells for the country’s economy. Criticising Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for its plan to hold a public meeting at F-9 Park in Islamabad, the minister said that after the PTI’s sit-in in 2014, the hue and cry on the Panama leaks was putting negative impact on the economy.

According to the finance minister, the opposition’s criticism of the government on the Panama leaks had blocked foreign investment in the country. Calling the Panama leaks as ‘Panama Drama’, he said: “Many international trade and investment delegations have shelved their scheduled visits to Pakistan.”

Mr Dar telephoned Leader of the Oppo­sition in the National Assembly Syed Khur­sheed Shah and apprised him about the government’s decision to write a letter to Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali to request him to form a judicial commission on the matter.

According to a spokesperson for the opposition leader, Mr Shah asked the finance minister that the matter should proceed according to the norm of justice.

Mr Shah demanded that the aspect of forensic audit should be made part of the Terms of Reference (ToRs) of the commission so that a transparent investigation could be conducted. “The opposition is neither doing politics nor giving an emotional touch to the Panama leaks issue and it just wants transparent investigation,” he said.

The opposition leader said that the chief justice was respectable to all and hoped that he would manage to conduct a transparent investigation by including the element of foreign audit into the ToRs of the commission.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2016

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