ToRs committee meeting ends in deadlock yet again


ISLAMABAD: The opposition and the government remained undecided over the ToRs for the proposed judicial commission on Panama Papers as yet another meeting of a bipartisan parliamentary committee ended in a deadlock.


PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan told media that there was no development in the eight meeting of the ToRs committee. “We did show flexibility to the extent we could, but the government didn’t try to resolve the matter,” he said.

PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi told media that there was zero progress in the meeting and deadlock still persisted. The opposition leaders also declined to comment whether the committee would meet again.

The parliamentary committee comprising six members each from the government and the opposition held its first meeting on May 25.

The committee was set up to come up ToRs for the proposed inquiry commission after Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali refused the federal government’s request to form a judicial commission to investigate the Panama leaks, saying it will take years to complete its proceedings with the provided Terms of Reference.

In a written response to a letter by the federal government earlier this month, the chief justice raised a set of objections to the notification from the federal government.

The chief justice pointed out that the formation of a commission under the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act, 1956 would only “result in the constitution of a toothless commission, which will serve no useful purpose, except giving bad name to it”.

The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government has been facing immense pressure from opposition parties since the massive leak of tax data from Panamanian Law firm Mosack Fonseca.

The leaked data revealed offshore business interests of several world leaders, their friends and members of their families. Names of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s children also appeared in the data, stirring up a political storm in Pakistan.

Many other prominent Pakistani personalities have also been named in the revelations. The documents identify many business tycoons and politicians including late two-time Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to have allegedly used tax havens.