ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan has demanded that PM Nawaz Sharif resign from office prior to his appearance before the joint investigation team (JIT) on Thursday and requested the JIT to make public its report on how government institutions are hindering its work.
Speaking at a press conference at his Banigala residence on Monday, Mr Khan said: “Nawaz Sharif is not doing any favors to the nation by appearing before the JIT; he is compelled to do so because of the Supreme Court’s order and for committing corruption, money laundering, tax evasion and perjury.”
PM Sharif will be the country’s first sitting prime minister to appear before an investigating agency.
Referring to the prime minister’s current visit to the Gulf, the opposition party chief claimed that no world leader could rescue Prime Minister Sharif and predicted that he would be ousted within the next two weeks.
Considering that the prime minister was summoned by the JIT as one of the suspects in the Panama Papers case, he must first resign and then face criminal proceedings, Mr Khan said, stressing that it would be an ethical thing to do.
“How can government organisations work without pressure unless he leaves office?” he asked.
The PTI chief alleged that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders were threatening judges of the Supreme Court and members of the JIT and were creating obstacles in the way of a smooth investigation against the prime minister and his family.
“The JIT has alluded that the government has placed obstacles in its investigation…its report on how its work is being hampered should be made public so that people could know about the real face of their rulers,” he added.
The PTI chief said Punjab Home Minister Rana Sanaullah had claimed that people would not accept the allegations against the prime minister as Mr Sharif was a popular leader set to come to power again in 2018.
“Does it mean that there should not be any court for the corrupt prime minister or any investigation against him,” Mr Khan questioned.
He said that four ministers of the ruling PML-N had given their statements that the Sharif family had owned London flats in the 90s, but a letter from a Qatari prince claimed the flats were purchased in 2006.
The entire premise of the Sharif family’s argument in the Panama Papers case was based on a fake letter from a Qatari prince who was not ready to face the JIT despite orders.
“The Qatari letter is a lie,” he claimed, “If it was not, the Qatari prince would have come to face the investigators.”
“Now that the case is almost over since the Qatari prince had refused to come to Pakistan, the ruling party has started attacking the JIT by telling its members that their children would have no place to live in Pakistan.”
The PTI chief expressed fears that the PML-N was planning to attack the Supreme Court as it did in November 1997.
He said the PTI was vigilant and prepared to foil any such attempt. “Our workers are ready to come out to save the Supreme Court…If anything untoward happens to the apex court, we will unleash the power of the people,” he vowed.
Mr Khan said that PML-N leaders always tried to get their way by issuing threats or bribes and were rightly termed the “Mafia” and “Godfather” by the Supreme Court.
“Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif offered me a bribe of Rs10 billion, while Rs2bn was to be paid to a middleman,” he alleged.
He said two of the judges on the Supreme Court panel in the Panama Papers case had declared that Mr Sharif was no longer ‘sagacious’ or ‘honest’, while the rest of three judges were not satisfied with the stance of the Sharif family and had asked for an investigation by a JIT.
Responding to a question about Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Allama Tahirul Qadri’s return to the country, he said: “He has taken a right decision to return to the country as no decision has been taken so far on the Model Town tragedy and none of the reports on the incident, in which 14 PAT workers were killed, have been made public.”