Pakistan PM to Address Parliament After Opposition Boycott Over Panama Leaks

Pakistan's prime minister on Saturday picked Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa to replace outgoing army chief Raheel Sharif, a popular military leader credited for improving security and driving back Islamist militant groups, his spokesman said.

By Mehreen Zahra-Malik

ISLAMABAD, May 10 – Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will appear before parliament to answer questions on the Panama Papers leak that linked his family to offshore wealth, an official said on Tuesday, after lawmakers walked out of the assembly.

Leaked documents from the Mossack Fonseca law firm in Panama last month showed Sharif’s sons, Hassan and Hussain, and his daughter, Maryam, owned at least three offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Sharif and his family have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying that assets mentioned in the leaked papers were legally acquired through the family’s network of businesses and industries in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

Opposition lawmakers walked out of both the Senate and the National Assembly on Monday and Tuesday, demanding that the prime minister come to parliament to answer their questions.

“The prime minister will attend parliament on Friday and answer all allegations,” Information Minister Pervez Rashid told the legislature, adding that Sharif could not attend the session earlier due to an official visit to Tajikistan.

The leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Khursheed Shah, welcomed the news that Sharif would appear on Friday but said the opposition would continue their boycott until then.

“We don’t want any confrontation, but the PM should clear his position and take parliament into confidence on his assets and tax details,” Shah told reporters.

Opposition politician Imran Khan has threatened to launch street protests against Sharif, seizing on the Panama Papers as a fresh opportunity to try to unseat him.

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