LAHORE: Punjab Government Spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan has said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan is hiding himself behind false excuses after blaming Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif.
Addressing a news conference here on Wednesday, he said the government was calling him again and again to come in the court and give proofs of his baseless allegations, but he was not appearing before the court even after the period of four months.
Imran alleged that the Punjab chief minister had offered him an amount of Rs 10 billion for withdrawing from Panama case, the spokesman said.
He reminded that the chief minister Punjab had sought clarification from Imran Khan before filling defamation case but the later failed to do so.
After serving legal notice, defamation suit had been filed in the civil court, he said.
He said that according to law, Imran Khan was bound to submit reply before the honorable court within 30 days but he had been using delaying tactics in pretext of one or another.
Till date his advocate had been sought adjournment for six time, he added.
The spokesman said that Imran Khan had been served with various court notices for appearance but in vain.
“Now through the media, we are again demanding him to reply his baseless allegation against a leader of national stature and chief executive of a province,” he added.
Shehbaz Sharif had already presented himself for accountability at any forum time and again but, on the other hand, Imran Khan was habitual of telling lies, he said.
The spokesman said that record of 56 Punjab government companies had been submitted to the Auditor General of Pakistan for audit.
“These companies were established for better delivery of services and are working according to book,” he added.
Responding to a query, he said that NAB had legal right to start investigations against any major financial transaction but it did not mean that any irregularity was proved.
The Punjab chief Minister had always encouraged transparency in all government departments, including public sector companies, and no irregularity would be tolerated in this regard, he concluded.
Meanwhile Chief Minister Punjab filed a petition on Wednesday for quick verdict in the defamation case against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan, Geo News reported.
Shehbaz remarked that Imran is employing delay tactics in the case hearing. “The verdict of the case should be given in the next 90 days,” he added.
The petition states that Imran is trying to delay the hearing of the case, as per law the verdict should be announced in the next 90 days. The petition adds daily hearings in the case could also be held.
Imran Khan in a public gathering had claimed that Shehbaz had offered to pay him Rs10 billion to remain hush on the Panama Papers case against the Sharif family.
After Wednesday’s court proceeding, the case was adjourned till December 5.
The case was filed in the court of Lahore additional sessions judge Azfar Sultan under Sections 4 (defamation actionable) and 9 (remedies) of Defamation Ordinance, 2002.
The petition states that “the facts and circumstances giving rise to the filing of the instant suit are that since the last week of April 2017, the Defendant [Imran Khan] started uttering, spreading and resorting to the publication, communication and circulation of maliciously false, baseless and unfounded oral statements and representations against the Plaintiff [Shehbaz].”
Moreover, it states that Imran claimed Shehbaz “offered to pay a sum of Rs10,000,000,000 to the Defendant in exchange for his withdrawing/backing-off from, or remaining silent on the issue of the Panama Papers case.”
On April 25, Khan, during a gathering at Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Lahore, alleged that he had been made an offer regarding the Panama case.
“Just imagine how much money he offered me to be silent — Rs10 billion! If he can offer me this much money, just imagine how much he could offer others. That is why if we don’t maintain public pressure on this issue, then after two months it will be dragged to the next year,” Khan had claimed.
In an interview televised following the statement, Khan refused to reveal the name of the person who made the offer but did state that this person was close to the Punjab chief minister.
In a press conference later in the day, the PTI chairman directly accused Shehbaz of using the law to his benefit. Khan said he was waiting for Shehbaz to take him to court as he would expose all the wrongdoings he [Shehbaz] has committed.