Friday Apr 21, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Chaos marred the session of the National Assembly on Friday as opposition parties decided to jointly confront the ruling party in the assembly and demand resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif following yesterday's Panama Papers verdict.
Opposition leader Khursheed Shah demanded that the Prime Minister step down from his position. Rejecting the JIT, which the apex court ordered for further investigation into the money trail of the Prime Minister and his sons, Shah questioned how the team could probe transparently while the PM remained in power.
Speaking to media, Shah said the opposition was ready to fight the PML-N, both inside the Parliament and outside, and called on the nation to get ready for a protest call.
"We have always been in favour of positive politics," Shah said. "We have been mocked by being called a friendly opposition, but we have always been with democracy."
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad, meanwhile, said Nawaz Sharif was the elected representative of the people of Pakistan and would not step down from his position.
Aftab Ahmad said all the political parties should honour the decision of the apex court and avoid creating hurdles in the path of investigation by the JIT.
The demand of the opposition was reflective of their disappointment on the decision, he added.
Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Sirajul Haq, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed were also present at the assembly session.
While low attendance was witnessed on the treasury benches, those present on the opposition benches stood up from their seats in protest. The leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party also protested by pounding their desks.
Since no one from the opposition or treasury benches maintained decorum, the speaker was forced to adjourn the session for an 'undefined' period.
PPP's Aitzaz Ahsan, present on the occasion, said it had always been witnessed that policies were softened when it came to Nawaz Sharif and other members of the Sharif family.
"They get 14 people martyred in Model Town [Lahore], nothing happens," Ahsan said. "A JIT was formed for that incident as well but nothing has happened yet."
He added that his party rejected the JIT formed to further probe the Panama case.
Speaking to the media, JI chief Siraj said the Prime Minister should resign so that investigation could be carried out in an independent manner.
Siraj said he believed ordering a JIT was a big deal.
"Instead of right or left, there should be politics of right or wrong," he said.
All the parties in the opposition have come together on a single platform, said Sheikh Rasheed.
"PML-N has failed the exams yet they are still distributing sweetmeat," he said.
PTI chief Imran Khan announced earlier to hold a protest rally in Islamabad next Friday to demand resignation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over the split verdict by the Supreme Court in Panama leaks case.
Speaking to media after the chaotic session of the National Assembly, Imran reiterated his demand that the prime minister step down, following the apex court’s ruling that further investigation was needed into corruption allegations levelled by the opposition at the PM and his family.
Citing the dissent note by two judges of the Supreme Court, Imran said the PM had lost the moral authority to rule the country.
Imran compared the current scenario with the UK where David Cameron quit after he lost the Brexit referendum, despite being elected with a landslide majority, because he lost the moral ground to lead.
Leader of House in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq said that the Supreme Court's decision in Panama case had vindicated the stance of the prime minister.
Talking to reporters outside the Parliament house, he said that the opponents would continue to face humiliation in future as the PML-N would win at every forum.
Raja Zafarul Haq regretted the PPP's attitude towards the JIT and said his party would follow the instructions of the apex court and every decision would be taken in accordance with the law.
The Supreme Court ordered on Thursday that a JIT be formed to probe the allegations levelled on the Sharif family in Panamagate case. The long-awaited verdict was given by a bench that was divided on a 3:2 ratio i.e. two judges wanted to denotify the Prime Minister while three announced the issue be probed further by a JIT.