Panama Papers Inquiries Bill sails through Senate

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SLAMABAD: Opposition lawmakers on Thursday managed to sail the Panama Papers Inquiries Bill, 2016 through the upper house of parliament as they rejected all the amendments proposed in the bill by the treasury benches.

When Leader of Opposition in Senate, Aitzaz Ahsan, presented the bill, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) senators – Ayesha Raza Farooq, Nehal Hashmi and Mohsin Leghari – proposed amendments in it.

The house rejected the clause-wise amendments proposed by the PML-N senators but passed with majority some amendments of Senator Sirajul Haq besides adopting Ahsan’s amendment to Haq’s amendment to a clause. The house made these amendments part of the bill.

Earlier, Leader of the House Raja Zafar-ul-Haq said the mover of the bill had assured to hold further deliberations on the bill in connection with formation of a commission; however, he said, the opposition did not honour its commitment.

“This is deplorable as there are some moral values and commitments which should be honoured,” he said, adding that the bill was moved with bad intentions and because of lack of trust.

PML-N lawmakers requested the Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani to refer this bill to the select committee for further discussion and amendments.

However, Ahsan opposed the demand and said the bill had already been with the committee and now it was the property of the house, adding that returning the bill to the committee was unnecessary.

He also reminded the government lawmakers that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had also failed to fulfill his commitment and gave conflicting statements in parliament and before the Supreme Court.

The opposition lawmakers also rejected the Companies Law Ordinance, which, they said, was introduced by the government in haste.