ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly yesterday witnessed fiery speeches from main opposition lawmakers against government, especially on the issue of Panama leaks.

As united opposition yesterday ended its weeklong protests from the proceedings of the house, the performance of PML-N government and Prime Minister’s link with Panama Papers came under severe criticism by Opposition Leader in NA Syed Khursheed Shah and PTI chief in their speeches.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif from government side responded to opposition criticism and came down hard on Imran Khan for his link to an offshore company and suggested all lawmakers to build consensus through parliamentary forum.

The house could not proceed for the 22nd constitutional amendment aiming to amend the qualification of Chief Election Commissioner and ECP members due to lack of required strength. This much-awaited amendment would now unanimously be passed today (Thursday).

Opposition Leader in the house, Syed Khursheed Shah, taking the floor, said there was a need of across the board accountability of all, including those who got their loans written off.

“This matter has not ended yet,” said Shah regarding opposition’s protest. He said all the problems could be resolved in the Parliament because it is an elected forum of two hundred million people.

He said they want to resolve the issue of accountability on the floor of the house. “With this spirit opposition ended its boycott from the proceedings of the house,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should attend the proceedings of the house.

“PM did not clarify doubts about his family assets,” he said and posed a volley of questions, asking how and when he earned that much money in 1992-3. “From where they (Sharif family) got money to purchase luxury flats (in London),” he questioned.

Shah said that Quaid-e-Azam did not own any factory. “The Founder of Pakistan had given tax of Rs4,489; whereas, Prime minister Nawaz Sharif gave Rs2700 tax in 1992,” he said, adding that they were not in favour to paint the prime minister as corrupt but accountability should be for all.

He said they want to improve the democratic system, strengthen the Parliament and the institutions.

PTI chief Imran Khan, in a fiery speech, said that there was a need to work against corruption issue in the country. “We (PTI) reserve the right to take to the streets if government would not initiate work for accountability,” said Khan, adding that corruption was a much bigger menace than improper tax collection.

PTI chief, responding to the allegations of misusing public funds, said that he was speaking on Panama leaks on behalf of masses but the government started counter attacks on Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH).

He went to say that such huge ratio of Cancer patients were not treated in charity hospitals anywhere in the world as in Shaukat Khanum Hospital. “Sadly, government is scandalising the hospital,” he added.

“If we talk on corruption, we face allegations of derailing democracy,” he said, adding that country’s progress depends up real democracy and transparency.

Khan, facing bit interruption in his speech from treasury lawmakers, said that instead of levelling accusations, the government should probe him if he had any ill-gotten wealth as it was its duty.

Responding to the criticism about his luxurious lifestyle, he further said that FBR, NAB and government authorities can examine it. “You have executive authority. You should arrest me if I am wrong,” he added.

He also called upon the prime minister to present himself for accountability. “Government should ensure a transparent investigation into offshore assets of Sharif family,” he urged.

Responding to the government’s counter allegations about misuse of SKMCH funds, PTI chief said that the government should have done some investigation before levelling baseless accusation about investment of charity money.

“Baseless allegations were levelled against me regarding Shaukat Khanum Hospital funds at time when we were running a fundraising campaign,” he said, adding that this government controls state institutions and agencies so it can initiate investigation against him.

“I used all my all energies into building the cancer hospital in the 1990s.” They government members are attacking the interests of poor cancer patients and in fact the whole nation including the parliamentarians as he said statistics show that one in every seven members of the house was a potential cancer patient.

“If PM is curious about my lifestyle including my travelling then he should ask FBR to probe me,” he said, adding that he had faced attacks on his personal life as he was labelled a Jew agent when he married a woman (Jemima Goldsmith) who converted to Islam.

PTI chief said that he earned money and assets in his successful cricket career and brought all his foreign earning to Pakistan.

Sharing his views about his offshore company, Imran Khan said he had never concealed his assets. “I have never hid my assets that were acquired under Niazi Services. In 2012, I, in a press conference, shared sales deed of my apartment (in London),” he said.

He said owing to his cricket achievements he was given two plots by none other than Nawaz Sharif, one as Punjab chief minister and later as prime minister, but he donated those plots to SKMCH. He said he also donated a good part of his earned money to the hospital.

Imran criticised Prime Minister Nawaz for his address regarding Panama leaks issue the other day (Monday), alleging him of lying about the time when Sharif family’s London properties were purchased.

“The way PM spoke in the assembly that day, he would have faced much trouble for lying in the august house if it were of some Western democracy.”

Moreover, he said that (PM’s daughter) Maryam Safdar has been declared as the dependent of PM, but she has come out as owner of two companies that own ‘Mayfair apartments in London. “It (again) shows that the PM misled the parliament,” he commented.

“A battle of accusations has continued since the Panama Papers surfaced and it would have been better if consensus was reached through the Parliament’s platform,” he said, concluding his speech.

Responding to opposition leaders’ criticism, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that incumbent government was not afraid of accountability at all. “Tree of democracy in Pakistan is not strong so all need to make it strong by doing away with greed for power,” he said.

The focus of Asif’s speech however was Imran Khan. Commenting on PTI chief’s clarification about his offshore company, he said that an offshore company is an offshore company regardless of its location. He said if the prime minister had presented himself for accountability, others should also be held accountable.

About Shaukat Khanum Hospital, he said it was a respectable institution which was operating with donations, grants and zakat money. He said that the fast changing statements of PTI chief was the key factor in damaging the repute of SKMCH and rising public suspicions.

He said that Imran Khan also kept changing his stance on the offshore companies. “He (Imran Khan) has his hands in people’s pockets whereas he keeps his own pockets empty,” he said, inviting rumpus from PTI lawmakers.