ISLAMABAD - Opposition parties yesterday rebuked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for hiding assets as the PPP demanded his immediate resignation.

The PPP, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Jamaat-e-Islami believed that the PM needed to come out clean in the Panama Papers controversy.

Nawaz earlier addressed the nation and announced the formation of a judicial commission to investigate the allegations against him and his family.

Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf asked Nawaz Sharif to quit immediately as he and his family had not declared their complete assets.

He said Nawaz Sharif had no moral authority to remain in the office of such serious allegations.

Another PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan said he was surprised how the property of the Sharifs multiplied.

He urged the National Accountability Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency to launch investigation against Nawaz Sharif and his family.

PPP’s Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khurshid Shah also lashed out at Nawaz Sharif and asked why he hid the offshore companies when they were legal.

PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi said the prime minister should bring a replacement for himself and face the charges.

“Forming a commission won’t work. When we had a problem, our prime minister was sent home and a new Prime Minister was appointed. We want the govt (led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) to continue but the prime minister must quit,” he said.

Kundi said that the Opposition parties will hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss the issue and will take up the case in the Parliament. “We can also go for protests outside the Parliament if the govt ignored our demands,” he added.

He criticised the prime minister for using national channel for promoting his own business. “The Sharif family must pay for the time used on the Pakistan television,” he asserted.

PTI leader Naeemul Haq said Nawaz Sharif in his address had failed to give satisfactory answers about the ownership of his family’s offshore companies as revealed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in its report.

He questioned about the powers and terms of reference of the Judicial Commission announced by Nawaz to probe this matter.

“The Prime Minister did not make it clear that either the govt will appoint judges of the Supreme Court as the members of the Commission or the Chief Justice of Pakistan,” he said. “Neither the Prime Minister spoke about the timeframe given to the Commission to complete the probe nor its mandate, he said.”

He asked whether the Commission would have the powers to probe the money trails used the in the establishment of companies owned by the children of Nawaz Sharif.

“Whether the Commission would probe the sources of money sent abroad by the Sharif family and would have the powers to examine the assets of Sharif family in and outside the country,” he said.

MQM, the third major Opposition party, demanded probe of Judicial Commission announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should be under Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali.

“Formation of Judicial Commission with the choice of ruling party will not prove fruitful,” said MQM’s senior leader Ali Raza Abidi.

The party also asked State Bank and Federal Bureau of Revenue to take notice on this matter. “How the money was transferred to other countries? Is it mere a tax evasion,” Abidi asked, adding, these matters should be addressed in the commission.

The MQM lawmaker said the govt had reacted over the scam of ‘Axact fake degree scam case’ only in eights hours.

“Immediate reaction was taken over BBC report against MQM chief Altaf Hussain, than why the law-enforcement agencies including FIA is keeping mum over it,” he said.

The lawmaker said that the MQM would also raise this matter in and outside the Parliament. He said that not even a single person belonging to MQM was named in the Panama leaks.

JI chief Sirajul Haq rejected the Commission announced by the Prime Minister stating the probe team must be empowered to act against the rulers.

He said if the offshore companies were legal, then why such companies were not allowed in Pakistan.

Later yesterday, PPP termed as ‘most unfortunate the attempt by the Prime Minister Sharif to deflect the storm brewing as a result of the Panama papers by blaming his woes on the policies of the govts of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in early 70s and that of Benazir Bhutto in 1989.

“It is a measure of the grave shock caused by the Panama Papers leaks that the Prime Minster instead of answering questions raised in the leaked documents has resorted to blame game against the PPP leaders,” Senator Farhatullah Babar said.

He said, “The Prime Minister thought it fit to recall that in the era of nationalisation the Ittefaq foundry was also nationalised and that the family received nothing in return. But he forgot to mention that one of the first acts of dictator Zia was to return the foundry to the Sharif family without the State being paid anything in return.”

He said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also thought it fit to allege that in 1989 during the govt of Benazir Bhutto their cargo ship was not allowed to off load at Karachi dockyard. “But he conveniently forgot to remember that the cargo ship Jonathan which was held up by Customs authorities after it was found to carry a sugar plant instead of the claimed steel scrap”, he added.

The PPP spokesman wondered as to what was the relationship between Bhutto’s nationalisation policy and the revelations in Panama Papers. He said that the issues raised by the Panama papers will not die down by laying the blame on PPP government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. “The Prime Minister will do well to answer the questions raised by the leaked papers instead of resorting to blame game,” he remarked.