ISLAMABAD - Deferring the plan to bring people out on roads on Panama Papers probe, the joint opposition yesterday decided to take the matter to Parliament in shape of a bill based on the opposition’s tailored terms of reference.

Talking to media after a marathon meeting of the opposition parties in which the representatives of opposition parties including PTI, PPP, JI, ANP, MQM, PML, QWP, AML, BNP, PAT and MWM participated, PPP central leader Barrister Ch Aitzaz Ahsan said that they had unanimously decided to move bill on Panama Papers inquiry in the Parliament and would not let the government escape from the transparent probe into the Panama leaks initiating from the family of Prime Minister.

Aitzaz said that joint opposition had adopted restrain and once again deferred to take to streets giving the government another chance to show sanity and accept the reasonable probe mechanism proposed by the opposition on Panama leaks probe.

“In case the government does not show flexibility, the doors of street agitation would be open to opposition,” warned Aitzaz.It was further decided that opposition would get the resolution adopted by the provincial legislatures of Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in support of the joint opposition bill to be tabled in National Assembly. In case of its rejection from the National Assembly they would move the bill in the Upper House of the Parliament.

The opposition parties also decided not to rejoin the negotiations with the government on unanimously adopted terms of reference for Panama Papers probe as the government side had not shown any flexibility in this regard in over a dozen meetings held in this connection between the government and opposition.

To a question Shah Mahmood Qureshi said government side had not shown seriousness on framing the terms of reference and all their efforts were aimed at saving the prime minister and his family from probe and to confuse the things by including all sort of corruption-related matters in it.

Aitzaz said government wanted to bring the loan default and misuse of authority cases and other crimes to be probed with Panama Papers which according to him was just to confuse the things as a judicial commission comprising three judges could not examine over six lakh cases. That was the reason they asked the government side to deal with other cases through already existing departments like FIA and NAB and treat the Panama Papers probe exclusively the point government had refused to accept.

He further said that after the Panama Papers revelations it was prime minister who had himself presented himself and his family members for scrutiny on a number of occasions but his ministers were out to protect him from facing the inquiry before the judicial commission.

Aitzaz said if government would continue to tread on the same path the opposition would be left with no choice but to take the matter to the court of people.

Awami Muslim League President Sh Rashid Ahmad said opposition parties were united and they would move forward with the same unity to take the Panama Papers probe to its logical conclusion and in case the government would not accept the legal and constitutional way of resolving the issue the people of Pakistan would decide it in its own fashion.

Sources aware of the deliberations of the meeting informed that majority of the participants opposed the launch of street protest against the government right now and suggested to first exhaust all the legal and constitutional forums. The parties supportive of agitation movement agreed to the point and the street protest plan was deferred for the time being.

The joint opposition also strongly condemned the atrocities of the Indian state through its military in Occupied Kashmir. The killing of Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani and those who rose to protest this murder, as well as the maiming and blinding of youth and children by the use of pellet guns by the Indian army is against all norms of international law, including international humanitarian laws.

The meeting expressed regret at the lethargy of the government in responding to these Indian brutalities in Occupied Kashmir despite the fact that Pakistan is a party to the Kashmir dispute, which remains the most longstanding dispute on the UN Security Council agenda.

They called on the government to immediately summon the Indian envoy in Islamabad and issue a specific demarche to him on the subject;

The government should highlight on the media and through diplomats in all capitals and remind the international community that Kashmir is not an internal issue of the Indian state but an international conflict before the UN Security Council – where India took it in 1948 under Chapter VI of the UN Charter. The government should ask the international community to remind India of this crucial fact. Also, the international community should be reminded and be asked to remind India that in UNSC Resolution 47 of 1948 both Pakistan and India agreed to the holding of a plebiscite by the UN to determine the will of the people of Kashmir.

The government should demand the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Committee to resolve this longstanding dispute on its agenda and take special note of the use of lethal and non-lethal weapons against unarmed civilia s, including women and children. The government should highlight the use by the Indian army of inhumane weapon of the pellet gun – normally used in hunting animals and birds – which led to the maiming and blinding of children and youth – on all international and regional forums.

Action by the international community against India must be demanded to stop the use of this weapon against unarmed civilians, especially children.

The OIC should also be activated on this issue. The silence of the OIC members on the atrocities in IoK has been deafening.

The government should demand a redeployment of Indian troops out of IoK and release all political prisoners; plus a repeal of draconian laws specific to IoK. The government should appoint a special envoy for Kashmir and arrange visits of parliamentary delegations to their counterparts in other countries so that elected representatives can play their due role on highlighting the Kashmir issue with their counterparts in world capitals.