ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties on Monday agreed to initiate investigation against all politicians named in the Panama Papers, however, they insisted that being the head of state Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should be probed first.
After holding a meeting at the residence of Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, the opposition parties including Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami Muslim League (AML) agreed to initiate the inquiry process from prime minister and his family and rejected the terms of reference presented by the PML-N government.
“We reject ToRs presented by the government in current form,” said PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira while addressing a joint press conference.
“The committee formed by opposition parties to look into the matter will meet tomorrow at 11am to finalise their recommendations for the terms of reference,” he added.
Kaira clarified that the session was not only attended by PTI and PPP but a total of nine opposition parties, all of which presented their suggestions on the possible terms of reference.
The PPP leader criticised the prime minister for not fulfilling his moral responsibility of initiating an unbiased probe following the Panama leaks.
The opposition leader also read the joint declaration agreed during the meeting, urging the government to seek advice from opposition parties for the legislation regarding the formation of judicial commission to probe Panama Papers.
The declaration jointly issued by opposition parties stated that the investigations should start with prime minister and his family.
Meanwhile, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) also held a meeting of its co-ordination committee with convener Nadeem Nusrat in chair and demanded of the prime minister to tender his resignation over Panama leaks to ensure transparency in the inquiry.
Issuing a declaration after the meeting, MQM maintained that the prime minister should resign from his post to steer the country out of the chaotic situation created after the Panama leaks.
“If he stays in the office, the opposition will question the transparency of the inquiry,” the party said.
Related: What the Panama Papers disclose about Pakistan’s politicians
Panama Papers and Sharif family
The data from the Panama Papers, available on the website of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — one of around 100 news organisations and 300 journalists that worked on mining the data simultaneously — also reveals the offshore holdings of members of Prime Minister Sharif’s family.
Maryam is described as “the owner of British Virgin Islands-based firms Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, incorporated in 1994 and 1993”.
On one of the documents released by ICIJ, the address listed for Nielsen Enterprises is Saroor Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The document, dated June 2012, describes Maryam Nawaz as the ‘beneficial owner’.
According to ICIJ, “Hussain and Maryam signed a document dated June 2007 that was part of a series of transactions in which Deutsche Bank Geneva lent up to $13.8 million to Nescoll, Nielsen and another company, with their London properties as collateral.”
In July 2014, the two companies were transferred to another agent.
Hasan Nawaz Sharif is described as “the sole director of Hangon Property Holdings Limited incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in February 2007, which acquired Liberia-based firm Cascon Holdings Establishment Limited for about $11.2 million in August 2007”.