ToRs issue is not dead: Dar hopeful to reach consensus

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ISLAMABAD June 23 (APP): Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Thursday said that the matter of Terms of Reference (ToRs) on Panama Papers is not dead and expressed hope, the issue will be resolved with consensus.

“I have requested an opposition member to meet again this week and
evolve consensus,” he said in a private news channel program. “And
if it does not happen then the ToRs and proposed laws by both
the government and the opposition can be placed before the Parliament
and it is the Parliamentary committee that is discussing the issue.”

“But, it would be better if we reach a consensus because
the politics of sit-in will do no good to the economy and the
country,” he said and mentioned to last sit-in by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf that cost the country Rs 100 billion and delayed
the CPEC project by one year.

“What we need is to unanimously deal with these issues and
move forward to consolidate and build the gains, the government
has achieved so far. It would be better for the country and the
nation,” he added.

Dar said both the sides have framed ToRs and proposed relevant
laws. As far as our side was concerned we had put forth as to which
law was needed to probe which matter and mentioned to laws related
to income tax, representation of peoples act, security and exchange commission laws and the foreign exchange laws. “We tried to cover and
it was done in a professional manner.”

Answering a question about appointment of the members
of Election Commission, he said, as all the four members had
retired, two changes have been proposed in present laws including
that among the future members of the ECP two members will have
half tenure only once like it was done in case of Senators. By this
way two members of the Commission shall retire after completing
their half tenure and this will be done through ballot and for once.

He said last night he had unofficially received four names by
the Prime Minister as nomination of the ECP members was prerogative
of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

“I met with Leader of the Opposition and started the process informally by sharing these names,” he said and added, the Opposition Leader has also some names as he has yet to finalize one more name. He hoped the process would start after Eid-ul-Fitr and will be completed within legal limit of 45 days.

When asked about running the country’s affairs in absence of the Prime Minister, Ishaq Dar said, there is provision in the constitution that the Prime Minister can ask any of the Cabinet members to handle day to day affairs.

But, he said, the constitution also provides that the budget document can only be signed by the Prime Minister once it gets approval of the Cabinet.

“For this purpose, we had the Prime Minister online who approved the budget document and later the document was signed by him.”

Answering a question whether there should be a constitutional provision to have somebody in place of the Prime Minister when a recent like situation arises when the Prime Minister had an heart surgery abroad, Dar said, a minor change in the constitution can make us have this provision.

He said it is also provided in the federal government rules that the Prime Minister can authorize any minister to dispense his day to day duties in his absence. However, there is need to bring clarity in article 83 by inserting the words, `subject to article 90.’

He condemned killing of Amjad Sabri and said instructions have been
issued to federal and provincial institutions to arrest the culprits and bring them to justice. “As far as I know the face of one assailant could be recognized in the CCTV footage and I hope, the law enforcing agencies will reach and nab him.”

He said the recent incidents were worrisome as the outlaws were trying
to create frustration but this conspiracy would be foiled positively.

Interior Ministry is taking cognizance of these incidents.

Answering a question about the government relations with the establishment, Ishaq Dar said, the meeting between the federal
minister and the Chief of Army Staff were misconstrued as he
rejected any tension or any annoyance by the Army Chief.

“We continuously deliberate on national issues and there is no reason for any annoyance. Both Sharifs have friendly relations and we are confident that this relation to continue as the same,” he clarified.

During the last meeting also, the professional matters had come under discussion and it was agreed that in the absence of the Prime Minister relevant stakeholders will define the outlines of important national issues and prepare a roadmap for the Prime Minister. “We had consensus at that meeting on the national issues and had a consensus way forward.”

“People themselves engineer a perception from the impressions.
If the verses of the Holy Quran are recited at a meeting one
should sit composed and what meaning other generate from a such
a posture, what can be said about that,” he explained.

“What I can say is that both the government and the establishment have good working relationship. We have a wonderful relationship and it is good omen for the country.”