PM’s ‘unsatisfactory’ speech draws opposition walkout from NA
Sharif for parliamentary committee on TORs
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated in the National Assembly speech today that his government intends to fairly conduct probe into Panama Papers that accused his family of possessing huge offshore wealth.
Without naming anyone in his speech, the PM said everyone keeping secret offshore properties would be exposed soon. “I assure this House that the government wants immediate and comprehensive probe into the matter,” he said, adding that we do not want to make it an issue of ego.
We do not need any constitutional or legal immunity, we experienced ruthless accountability in the past and we are ready for it today as well.
He lamented that opposition’s TORs focus a single person and that he was indicted before the formation of the commission. “I had nothing to hide earlier, nor I have it now,” he said noting that his family instead of earning my family has lost things after being coming into politics.
In an indirect reference to Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen, the PM asked them to explain how their journey started and what were their sources of income. He lambasted that fake stories were furnished pertaining to his tax returns. The premier also presented the documents before the Parliament to justify his statement.
“We [Sharif family] paid Rs 10 billion taxes in past 23 years, while I personally paid Rs 36 million,” he said. The prime minister asked Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to form a parliamentary committee comprising of both treasury and opposition members to reach a consensus on the terms of reference (TORs) of the Panama commission.
He said leveling allegations without investigation not only puts credibility of a politician into question, but also tarnishes image of politics. This issue can’t end here. Hence the issue has surfaced, public should know the reality now, stated the PM.
Shah terms PM’s speech ‘unsatisfactory’
Speaking on his turn, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah said that we had come seeking answers to our seven questions, but the premier stretched it to 70 questions.
“PM Nawaz Sharif disclosed so many things in the Parliament today, which were not mentioned in our questionnaire,” said Shah. “Perhaps, he [Nawaz] did not have answers to opposition’s questions.”
Imran finds no truth in PM’s talk
Talking to media outside the Parliament House, Imran Khan said that Premier Sharif neither spoke truth today nor furnished any explanation on his family’s offshore wealth.
“We have details that the Sharif family purchased flats in London in 2004, but the prime minister claimed they were purchased in 2005,” he said, while presenting documents before media about the purchase and sale of his London flat.
Imran Khan further claimed to have paid more taxes than Nawaz Sharif in 1982.
He said if the prime minister wanted, he could present declaration of his assets to clear his position, but he did not.
Meanwhile, PPP lawmaker Aitzaz Ahsan said the flats in London were actually acquired by the Sharifs in 1992-93, adding that we sought the exact date of purchase of these flats. AML chief
Sheikh Rasheed also jumped in saying the Sharif family went to Saudi Arabia out of their own will and that they suffered no hardships.
The session was chaired by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq.
Earlier, the prime minister informed beforehand that he would give policy statement on Panama Papers. “I will only speak in the parliament which is contextual to be spoken there,” remarked the PM.
Meanwhile, opposition parties were seen demonstrating rare unity to trip up the premier on the burning issue of elected leaders keeping secret offshore wealth.
Panama leaks scandalizes PM Sharif
On April 22, PM Nawaz Sharif had pledged to resign if a probe related to the Panama Papers tax scandal found his family had committed any wrongdoing.
Three of Sharif’s children were named in a vast leak of documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca this month that has revealed how the wealthy hide their money.
The premier has announced a probe into the revelations contained in the Panama Papers, which claim his children owned London property through an offshore company. But the chief justice refused to form a commission, citing complications on terms of references devised by the government.
The leaked papers, comprising 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca, exposes how some of the world’s most powerful people have secreted their money offshore, and also implicated Sharif’s sons Hasan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz.
Maryam Nawaz in spotlight over ‘UK firm’
Maryam Nawaz, daughter of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, owns Nelson Enterprises in the United Kingdom, shows a document revealed by Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Fonseca gave details to British Financial Investigation Agency upon latter’s request. The agency had sought ownership details of Nelson Enterprises on June 14, 2012. The document shows that Nelson Enterprises has owner enlisted as Maryam Safdar since 2012.
While Ms Maryam has denied owning any such property in London or elsewhere abroad. She said those claiming she had properties abroad must prove it. The letter, written by Fonseca, was dated in 2012 and shows address of the owner as follow: Saroor Palace, Rowasi Road in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Chief justice says ‘No’ to judicial commission
Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali has also refused to constitute a judicial commission as requested by the government to investigate revelations made in the Panama Papers implicating political leaders for having offshore wealth.
The chief justice responded to the government letter, saying that formation of commission was impossible in view of the terms of references laid out by the government.
He said a considerable amount of time was required to form a commission under current ToRs.