ISLAMABAD - Digging their heels the opposition parties’ leaders said they would not show more flexibility on terms of reference for Panama leaks probe and demanded the government alter its position to break the impasse on the issue.

The opposition leaders after their internal meeting on Panama leaks ToRs yesterday met with National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq to convey their decision to him, who in return sought time for seeking government’s point of view on it.

Talking to the media later, Leader of Opposition in Senate Ch Aitzaz Ahsan said that the joint opposition had deliberated upon the issue in detail and it was their consensus view that the ToRs prepared by them were final.

He said they would not budge an inch from their stand of initiating the probe from prime minister’s family.

A couple of weeks ago Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had called both the government and opposition members of the Parliamentary Committee on Panama ToRs to break the impasse in the negotiations but the meeting could not take place due to Quetta blast.

Two days ago Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in his meeting with Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah once again raised the issue and on Shah’s request the opposition parties arranged a meeting to finalise their strategy before meeting NA speaker.

The opposition parties huddle was attended by Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, Khursheed Shah and Naveed Qamar from PPP, Mehmood Qureshi from PTI, Barrister Saif and Mian Atique from MQM, AML chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, QWP chief Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, ANP Senator Ilyas Bilour and BNP(Awami) Chief Israr Ullah Zehri.

The insiders informed The Nation that opposition leaders were unanimous that they would not show further flexibility and force the government to accept opposition-prepared ToRs. They said they had already shown too much flexibility but the government side was not ready to accept their basic demand of initiating probe from PM’s family.

Aitzaz in his media talk said that the opposition had accepted 75 percent of ToRs of the government but the other side showed zero flexibility as it had not even considered any of their proposals.

Pointing out the dichotomy on part of government Aitzaz said that on one hand the prime minister had presented himself for accountability not once but thrice but on the other hand his lieutenants were not ready to even consider inclusion of Nawaz Sharif and his family members in the Panama leaks probe.

He said the opposition was in agreement that an Act of Parliament should be approved for inquiry into the Panama affair but the government draft of the bill was useless. He said they favour across the board accountability but this should begin from the prime minister and his family. He charged that the government wanted division in the opposition ranks but they stand united.

PTI’s parliamentary leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi also said the opposition was united on ToRs for inquiry. He said the government from the very first day wanted that the opposition should not sit together. He said after the government ministers failed to divide the opposition, they sought the support of NA speaker for talks on ToRs.