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NA okays 12-member parliamentary committee on opposition’s demand

ayaz sadiq

ISLAMABAD:(APS) May 19,2016-– National Assembly (NA) has approved Thursday formulating a 12-member parliamentary committee after the opposition rejected a 16-member body to form joint Terms of References (TOR) in Panama leaks issue.

Opposition parties rejected any change in the parliamentary committee and demanded the government to stand true to its word by getting approved the motion moved by Minister for Law Justice Zahid Hamid on Wednesday. Opposition members stressed limiting the number from each side to six.

National Assembly had adopted a motion yesterday that authorized the Speaker, Ayaz Sadiq to form a parliamentary committee, comprising of government and opposition members to compile joint TORs for Panama leaks probe.

According to the resolution, the committee will submit its report in the Parliament within two weeks.

Government nominated seven names including Zahid Hamid as ex-officio member. Whereas the opposition, following the discussed course, named  six members to negotiate TORs with the government.

However, increase in the number of each side’s representatives was proposed today but was rejected by the opposition. It was proposed that the government and the opposition contribute eight members each.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), having 25 members in the National Assembly was neglected. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) vice-chairman, Shah Mehmood Qureshi while discussing the issue in the assembly today said that the MQM was a part of joint opposition in Panama leaks issue all through the course until recently and thus it should have contacted the opposition for representation in the committee and not the government.

Qureshi’s statement came after Federal Minister Ishaq Dar disclosed to the participants that certain MQM members had contacted him earlier today seeking representation in the parliamentary committee.

PTI’s vice-chairman said that the resolution that was signed upon on Wednesday should be approved today without any amendment. The resolution stated that the government and the opposition would nominate six members for the committee each.

On the other hand, MQM’s Syed Asif Hasnain demanded fair representation in the proceedings as part of the Parliament. Federal Minister for Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique denounced depriving MQM of representation on an important development in Panama leaks issue.

Qureshi asked the government, while responding to Saad Rafique’s call to count MQM as government s representative. Rafique criticised PTI vice-chairman’s recommendation saying that MQM has been an opposition party for past three years and could not be counted as government’s part for formation of TORs.

However, National Assembly Speaker asked the Leader of the Opposition, Khurshid Shah, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Ishaq Dar and others to see him in his chamber later today to take a decision pertaining to MQM’s representation.

Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif had recommended formation of a parliamentary committee, during his address on Monday, to negotiate TORs for Panama leaks probe with the opposition. Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly, Khurshid Shah announced accepting the proposal and called off the boycott of the Senate and the National Assembly.

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