Finance Minister reiterates government offer to opposition

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ISLAMABAD: (APP) Stressing political unity on economy, security and energy issues, Finance Minister, Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Friday reiterated government's reconciliation offer and asked the opposition to join hands for formulating a consensus law to probe alleged corruption .

"Today, the treasury benches have laid Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Bill-2016 in the light of observations made by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to conduct an inquiry into any definite matter of public importance," he said while addressing a press conference in Punjab House here.

Flanked by Federal Minister for Law and Justice, Zahid Hamid, Minister of State for Information Technology (IT), Anusha Rehman, Minister for Ports and Shipping, Mir Hasil Bezenjo and Minister for Housing and Works, Akram Durrani, he said, the opposition had also presented a separate private bill on the subject in the Senate which would be tabled in the house next week.

"We have been asking the opposition parties to put heads together to evolve consensus on law to probe Panama papers, land grabbing and written-off loans, but they responded with a specific mindset and targets," he added.

He said, the government intend to make Terms of Reference (TORs) to probe all types of corruption, but opposition always tried to restrict it to Panama papers as it wanted to protect some of their stalwarts who owned offshore companies.

The minister said, all the clauses of the original Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act 1956 had been retained in the new bill while the government had empowered a 60 years old toothless law by incorporating new clauses.

He said, after the passage of new bill, certain change could be made in the TORs of the commission to probe Panama papers issue.

Senator Ishaq Dar said, all the federal and provincial institutions were bound to assist the inquiry commission to be formed after the passage of new bill.

Responding to a question, he said, the government always believed in reconciliation with opposition parties.

He, however, said, the opposition parties should shun negative politics and come forward to work with the government to take the country on road to economic stability and public welfare.

He said, the people had rejected politics of agitation in the past and would also continue to do so in future believing it as undemocratic tendency.

Senator Ishaq Dar said, the opposition on the one hand had moved Supreme Court, Election Commission and the Speaker National Assembly to probe alleged corruption and on the other, it was taking to streets.

Senator Ishaq Dar said, in the past, the opposition had inflicted colossal losses to the country and national economy by staging protest rallies and sit-ins.

He said, the world community acknowledged that Pakistan's economy was in take off stage and the country would join the world's top ten economies by 2050, though the opposition was trying to decelerate the development pace.

While asking the opposition to come out of specific frame of mind, he said, the nation had reposed confidence into the policies of the government during general election of Azad Kashmir and recently held bye-polls in Jhelum and Vehari.

Answering a question, he said, the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Bill 2016 could be passed in the joint sitting of the parliament in case it was rejected by the Upper House.

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