The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has rejoined the opposition parties in their quest for drafting agreeable terms of reference (ToRs) for the Panama leaks inquiry commission with the government.
The decision was announced following a consultative meeting between an MQM delegation and other parties at the Parliament House on Friday.
MQM Senator Muhammad Ali Khan Saif will now represent the party in the ToRs committee, after leaving the opposition alliance a couple of days ago, accusing it of demanding selected accountability.
Opposition sees ‘victory’ in PM’s move, rejects ToRs
Saif has replaced Qaumi Wattan Party’s Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, who was earlier named as one of the members. Opposition Leader in National Assembly Khursheed Shah has informed Speaker Ayaz Sadiq about the decision.
The first formal meeting of the 12-member parliamentary committee will be held on Tuesday (May 24). The panel comprises six members each from the government and the opposition.
Saif told the joint opposition had assured the MQM that its demand of across-the-board accountability would be met. “The MQM is with the opposition but with an independent stance,” he said.
“We will not support the opposition in solely targeting the PM’s family in the name of accountability and will ensure the ToRs clearly cover this aspect,” Saif said.
Khursheed Shah said all misunderstandings had been settled with the MQM. He said the opposition wanted to finalise the ToRs without any delay so that investigations could be kicked off into the matter formally.
While the government has yet to name its members for the panel, the combined opposition, especially the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, was reluctant to take back MQM into the fold of the ToRs committee.
Panama leaks: Opposition parties agree upon ToRs, seek PM family probe first
PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi had also opposed the inclusion of MQM in the parliamentary committee on the floor of the lower house on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the government and opposition had agreed to form the joint parliamentary committee.
The six-man opposition team will be represented by Awami National Party’s Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Aitzaz Ahsan, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s Tariq Bashir Cheema, MQM’s Saif and Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariqullah.