ISLAMABAD: The main opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) sees no crisis in the country due to the absence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and does not support the demand for appointment of any other chief executive for an interim period.

Speaking at a news conference, former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said that there was no provision in the Constitution for appointment of a deputy or acting prime minister in the country.

Accompanied by other PPP leaders, Mr Ashraf said the prime minister remained a prime minister wherever he went and there was no bar on him that he could not work from abroad.

The PPP leader said that his party did not want to do opposition for the sake of opposition. He, however, said that he could not give an authentic view on the issue since he was not a constitutional expert.

Zardari says no understanding with PML-N over Panama Papers

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, former minister Rana Farooq Saeed, former MNA Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed and PPP’s media coordinator Nazir Dhoki were present on the occasion.

An official announcement from the Prime Minister House issued on Saturday stated that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is scheduled to undergo an open-heart surgery in a UK hospital on Tuesday, was overseeing affairs of the government from London.

Responding to a question, Mr Ashraf denied reports that PPP was providing a safe exit to the prime minister on the Panama Leaks issue, saying the party’s position was clear from day one that there should be a forensic audit of the offshore companies and an independent and impartial inquiry should be conducted against those whose names had appeared in the Panama Leaks papers.

“This is our principled stand and we will stick to it,” he declared.

Later, the party officially released a statement of party’s co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari denying media reports that he had reached some understanding on the issue of Panama Leaks with Prime Minister Sharif.

Mr Zardari, in a statement issued from Dubai and released by the party’s media office, termed all such reports “untrue, baseless and motivated”.

Mr Zardari also denied reports about his meeting with JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in London recently.

He said that the party had already decided to pursue the Panama Leaks issue to its logical conclusion. “A parliamentary committee has already been set up which is engaged in drawing up terms of reference (ToR) for investigations and how to proceed in the matter and there is no question of ignoring it,” he said.

The former president said that the party had arrived at a well-considered stance on the issue after due deliberations not only within the party but also with all political parties.

Meanwhile, Raja Pervez Ashraf, who is also the secretary general of the PPP-Parliamentarians, said that party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would go to Mirpur in Azad Kashmir to address a public meeting there in connection with forthcoming elections in the valley.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2016