RAWALPINDI: At a rally outside the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club on Sunday, Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) started a campaign against the PML-N led government in relation to the Panama Papers leaks and demanded that an organisation be established which will work under the Pakistan Army to probe corruption charges against the prime minister and his family.
The protest, which started at the press club and then progressed on to Liaquat Bagh, was attended by some 450 people and was led by PAT district president Sultan Naeem Kayani.
Protesters chanted slogans against the government and demanded a probe against the ruling elite.
Traffic on Murree Road was suspended for more than two hours during the rally, which was the first protest hosted by PAT’s local chapter in the garrison city after the marathon sit-in outside Parliament House in 2014.
“If a probe into the allegations in the Panama Papers is done by an organisation which works under the army, then the prime minister does not need to resign. However, if another organisation is probing into the matter, then the prime minister should resign before the investigation starts,” PAT’s Sultan Naeem Kayani said at the rally.
The Panama Papers leaks have exposed the financial wrongdoings of the local elite, he said, adding that it is now time to clean corruption and incompetence from the country’s politics.
“The ruling elite should be answerable to the people about the money generated from [the public’s resources] and about how that money ended up abroad,” he added.
It is strange that the people involved in financial wrongdoing including embezzlement have become rulers of the country and that public money is being used for improving [the politicians] businesses abroad, he said.
The party’s district president said that the PML-N government in the centre and in Punjab has not conducted an inquiry into the Model Town incident of June 17, 2014 and that PAT and Minajul Quran will start protesting if the killers were not arrested.
Minhajul Quran’s chief for the north Punjab chapter Rana Idrees said that the government was fooling the people in saying that it is appointing a judicial commission to probe into the all egations levelled in Panama Papers.
“A Supreme Court judge with limited powers will not be able to do justice with the case,” he said.
The prime minister should present himself in parliament for accountability, like UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron presents details of his assets on the floor of parliament.
The links between politics, corruption, terrorism and politics have been broken by Gen Raheel Sharif, because of whom the security situation has improved.
“We requested Gen Raheel Sharif to send the case of Model Town to the military court,” he added.
PAT district chapter’s general secretary Aqil Satti said that the accountability bureau or an organisation working under the Pakistan Army should hold the political elite to account and that this will also be accepted by the people.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2016