KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Friday rejected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s proposed mechanism for an investigation into the Panama Papers revelations involving his family.
According to the party, the speech by Mr Sharif further strengthened the arguments of his opponents instead of clearing the Sharif 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. “The terms of reference mentioned by the prime minister in his speech are not acceptable. The PPP will not support any move which does not specifically address the Panama Papers’ allegations.”
According to Senator Ghani, the speech had provided the prime minister’s opponents an opportunity to get their point across as the government had done nothing to counter allegations made after the Panama leaks.
He explained that the prime minister’s speech had made matters more confusing and raised more doubts about his family. “It is time to address the Panama Papers revelations, not to go for counter allegations.”
While talking to a private television channel a few hours after the prime minister’s address to the nation in which he said he would resign if proven guilty by the Panama Papers probe, Muttahida Qaumi Movement MNA Farooq Sattar said the first mistake made by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and PM Sharif was to address the nation without any consultations.
He added that this gave the opposition the chance to debate the issue.
From the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the party had no issues if the investigations were conducted in a transparent manner. “After today’s development and success in the National 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 National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said that he would apologise to PM 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 Mr Shah on Friday evening. “Writing a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan is not the solution. Only an international forensic audit can settle this issue.”
According to Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq, there were many questions at this stage, “but now that the opposition has come together on this issue, the opposition should also come together for unanimous Terms of References.”
On Twitter, PTI’s Shireen Mazari said: “In his address to nation instead of clearing confusion & contradictory statements on his assets he wailed away!”
“PM has got it wrong when he says ppl who ‘accuse’ shd bring proof! PM must give proof of no wrongdping viz offshore accts!”
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari retweeted old footage of PM Sharif asking former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to resign and added: “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.”
Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2016