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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing the National Assembly on Monday, suggested to form a joint committee to draft the terms of reference (ToRs) for establishing the judicial commission to probe allegations related to Panama Papers revelations.

The government lawmakers present in the NA welcomed the prime minister when he arrived to address the lower house over the Panama issue.

“A report was published in media in April, called Panama papers, which named a number of Pakistanis involved in forming offshore companies. My two sons were also named in it, who are living abroad and are doing legal business,” Nawaz said as he started his much-awaited speech.

“Some of my fellow party members advised me not to explain my position, since I am not directly named,” the premier told the lower house. "They advised me to form an impartial commission to investigate the issue.”

-DawnNews screengrab
-DawnNews screengrab

During the speech, members of the ruling party kept applauding every sentence said by the prime minster by thumping theirs desks.

“I believe in the judiciary and even the retired judges but some people reacted adversely and even defamed those judges, then they demanded an investigation by FIA,” the premier said.

The premier said that his government accepted their demand and nominated FIA officials trusted by the opposition, but even this proposal was rejected.

“Then they wanted a commission led by supreme judiciary, we agreed to that. But then they made the issue of ToRs controversial.”

“None shall have any doubt that the ToRs suggested by the opposition only want accountability for me. This is inexplicable that a man whose name is nowhere in Panama Papers should explain himself.”

“My ministers and I do not fear accountability, we have faced selective justice in the past as well,” he maintained.

The prime minister said he wants investigation against all kind of corrupt people and practices, including those who took kick-backs and got their loans written off.

"Today, people living in bungalows and commuting in helicopters are accusing me of misconduct, can they explain it before the nation as to how they earned all this money and how much tax they paid," said Nawaz Sharif.

The opposition members, as decided in a meeting before the NA session, did not create any disturbance during the speech. However, they staged a walkout after the prime minister's address saying "the prime minister's address was of no use".

During his speech Nawaz claimed that he will now clear the air about the London flats, but later did not offer any explanation.

'An irresponsible move'

Addressing a press conference following the PM’s speech in NA session, PML-N ministers termed the opposition's walkout “an irresponsible move”.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid claimed the walkout shows the opposition had nothing to say after the Nawaz's speech in which he “knocked out all the lies”.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said, “Imran Khan is the pioneer of offshore firms and is the most experienced Pakistani politician in this regard.”

"On one hand Imran urges foreigners to bring money to Pakistan, but on the other hand he even invests charity money abroad," claimed Asif.

Railway Minister Saad Rafique, on his turn, accused the opposition of behaving 'irresponsibly' by walking out even after their demand of a PM's speech was granted.

He claimed that the Speaker of the house had agreed to grant more time to Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah and even Imran Khan after PM' speech, but they still staged a walkout.