ISLAMABAD - Joint opposition yesterday staged walkout from National Assembly sitting over the absence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the house, saying their protest will continue until the PM takes parliament into confidence on Panama controversy.

With the onset of 31st NA session, the charged opposition members demanded the PM clear his position on Panama leaks in the parliament, the proper forum, instead of delivering fiery speeches at public gatherings which would not help him divert the focus.

However, the government side termed the opposition’s walkout an attempt to avoid accountability as they also had their names in Panama leaks.

The house also witnessed verbal brawl between opposition and government members when AML chief Sheikh Rashid in an emotional tone asked the speaker to conduct debate on Panama leaks, saying the (governance) system of country has entered in a dangerous phase.

Minister for SAFRON, Abdul Qadir Baloch in response asked him to avoid use of derogatory language. Speaker Ayaz Sadiq timely intervened in the messy situation and cooled down both the sides.

Opposition Leader in NA Syed Khursheed Shah said that prime minister should clear his position on the offshore companies of his children on the ‘floor of the house’.

“Opposition is not announcing any movement but demanding PM’s presence in the house… Parliament is the right forum to address the controversy.”

Shah said that the TORs compiled by opposition parties should equally be implemented on the all the accused members of Panama issue. “Accountability needs to start from PM yet no other accused will be exonerated.”

PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi also demanded that the prime minister should come in the parliament to clear himself. He said the government side had rejected ToRs compiled by opposition for judicial commission. “There is a need to sit together and resolve this matter”. Prime minister’s absence will increase confusion, he added.

MQM’s parliamentary leader Farooq Sattar also supported the major opposition parties on this demand. “MQM is with rest of the opposition on their stance,” he said, demanding formation of Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) to address opposition’s reservations.

Later, Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah along with all members of the opposition parties left the house in protest when Speaker Ayaz Sadiq gave floor to Daniyal Aziz to respond to opposition’s criticism.

PML-N lawmaker Daniyal Aziz said that opposition members with this walkout wanted to avoid accountability. “We (government) are interested in carrying out (across the board) accountability and opposition is avoiding it,” he said, claiming that the names of some opposition parties’ members were in second list of Panama leaks.

He said government ToRs for the proposed probe commission were comprehensive than those of the opposition. He said opposition has failed to come out with constructive criticism of the TORs framed by the government.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, in the absence of opposition, also disposed of rest of the agenda. ‘The Public Private Partnership Authority Bill, 2016’ and a motion, ‘The Special Economic Zones (Amendment), 2016’ was presented in the house.

Two ordinances, ‘The Credit Bureaus (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016’ and ‘Statelife Insurance Corporation (Re-organisation and Conversion)’, were also laid before the house. Two call-attention notices moved by opposition were deferred.