Govt to stick with retired SC judge for Panama leaks probe

Terms of Reference for commission may be changed after consulting opp

ISLAMABAD - Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will meet select cabinet colleagues today to finalise the party’s strategy to take forward the plan of inquiry commission on Panama leaks as announced by the prime minister and approaching the leadership of mainstream Parliamentary parties in coming days.

Sources in the party informed that Finance Minister has asked all the cabinet colleagues to stay back in the country and cancel their foreign tours in coming days, if any, to show the unity in the rank and file of the party to counter the opposition’s onslaught against the family of prime minister on what he termed the frivolous and baseless issue.

In an informal meeting of legal brains of the party was held yesterday under the chair of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is trying to fill the gap of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his absence, to give final touches to the proposed draft of terms of reference (ToRs) which the government team would take to the heads of other opposition parties and if required the same would be altered and modified in the light of the input from these parties, sources in the party informed.

Those who attended the meeting included Minister for Law and Justice, Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for IT, Anusha Rehman Khan, Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Law, Barrister Zafarullah Khan and Secretary to Prime Minister, Fawad Hassan Fawad.

Federal Law Minister talking to a private television channel said that they wanted to make a powerful inquiry commission and would hope that the opposition parties would help them making it effective and instrumental in bringing the truth to the fore in revelations made public in the Panama leaks.

He said the commission would be empowered to probe the cases of all those pointed out in Panama leaks and would take the whole affair to its logical conclusion so that the matter could be settled once and for all.

A source in the party confirmed that so far the ruling PML-N seemed determined to have an inquiry commission under the head of a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and would try to force all the political parties to accept it, however, the party could show flexibility on ToR and attachment of technical people with the commission.

In a media talk on Sunday Finance Minister was categorical in his remarks that the inquiry commission would be formed in the light of the announcement made by the prime minister in his address to the nation.

He hoped that political parties would come forward and help government establish the commission to have a thorough probe of the Panama leaks adding that his party would be consulting all the Parliamentary parties on it.

Dar also welcomed the announcement made by Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani expressing his inability to head a Parliamentary Committee to probe the Panama leaks as suggested by Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah the other day, saying that the proposal was not apt and chairman senate decision was right in the given perspective.

Though Dar did not give any specific date for notification of the commission but he said that the probe commission would be announced in a next few days after completing the requisite formalities.

A source in the ruling PML-N informed that Dar had already taken some nationalist parties leaders, allies of the ruling PML-N in federal and Balochistan governments, into confidence on the government’s plan and now he would be approaching the main opposition parties leaders in coming days, who had already rejected the inquiry commission under the head of a retired Supreme Court judge soon after its announcement by the prime minister in his address to the nation on national hook-up on April 5.

Sources in the ruling PML-N said that government wanted to put the matter in delay while the division in the opposition parties on the modus operandi of the probe has made the task easy for them.

These sources said that now the PML-N leadership has ample time to ponder over and evolve some strategy to get out of the Panama leaks issue because it would not be easy to bring all the opposition parties, having divergent view on the probe strategy, on same page.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt