ISLAMABAD - The deadlock on formation of terms of reference for Panama Papers probe  was spinning into further complexities as both the government and opposition members are digging in their heels in the matter.

Before a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Panama Papers, the opposition parties met to devise a strategy on the issue. Those against the boycott of the committee’s proceedings prevailed and the opposition team later attended the committee meeting.

The committee meeting did not move forward even an inch, PTI member of the committee, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said, adding the progress of the committee was zero plus zero equals zero.

He said the government was not serious in resolving the issue through dialogue and since the day first they were just beating about the bush, so the result was before everybody as even after eight sittings they were standing where they were on the first day.

Leader of Opposition in Senate Ch Aitzaz Ahsan said the government was reluctant to prepare an effective and transparent mechanism on corruption and it was mainly averse to starting the investigation from the prime minister and his family.

To a question, Aitzaz Ahsan said the opposition had decided to take the matter to its party heads and seek guidance on the future course as the government was just wasting time and had shown no seriousness in preparation of consensus terms of reference for the Panama Papers probe.

To another question, the opposition team members said now they would go back to their leadership and decide the future course of action in consultation with them.

Aitzaz said the next date of the committee meeting had not been fixed as they considered it a futile exercise because the government was not ready to listen to their point of view and just wanted to save the prime minister and his family from the probe into their offshore accounts and properties. He made it loud and clear that the opposition would not withdraw from their demand of initiating the probe into the Panama Papers revelations from the prime minister and his family members.

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said it was the government's priority to frame consensus terms of reference to probe the allegations levelled in the Panama leaks, but made it clear that they would not allow any party to dictate things in the committee.

He once against made it clear that any person-specific terms of reference would not be acceptable and all what the government wanted was accountability of all. The minister said the prime objective of the Parliamentary Committee on ToRs to look for a solution acceptable to everyone. Saad Rafique said two political parties were bent upon targeting the prime minister, which was not acceptable.

Meanwhile, according to the joint statement issued after the eighth sitting of the committee, Senator Ilyas Ahmad Bilour on his own behalf circulated copies of a document titled “The additional powers of the commission” among the members. The government side also again circulated copies of a document beginning with “The Inquiry Commission shall have the following terms of reference”.

The committee generally discussed the bill titled “The Commissions of Inquiry Act, 2016”, drafted by the government side (dated 10-06-2016) read with its ToRs and Annexure-A to the Terms of Reference circulated by the opposition team on June 7, 2016, describing the opposition’s proposals for a specific law.

Senators Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Aitzaz Ahsan, Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Muhammad Ali Saif and Ilyas Ahmad Bilour; and members of the National Assembly, Zahid Hamid, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Akram Khan Durrrani, Anusha Rehman Khan, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sahibzada Tariq Ullah and Tariq Bashir Cheema attended the meeting as members of the committee.

The next meeting of the committee will be held with mutual consultation of the members of the committee.