LAHORE: Unwilling to provide respite to the ruling party on Panama Papers, the Pakistan Peoples Party plans to submit an application to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and four of his relatives under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.
PPP Secretary General and former Punjab governor Sardar Latif Khosa told Dawn on Sunday that a legal team of his party had formulated a draft of the application on the instructions of its chairman, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
The decision to move the ECP to disqualify the premier shows that Mr Bhutto-Zardari is in no mood to continue the reconciliation policy of his father (Asif Ali Zardari) towards the PML-N, according to analysts.
The application seeking the disqualification of PM Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, MNA Muhammad Safdar and MNA Hamza Shahbaz would be filed with the ECP this week, Mr Khosa said.
“Nawaz Sharif has not only concealed his assets in a declaration (submitted) to the ECP but also committed perjury during an address in parliament. He did not speak the truth about his own assets and those of his family members abroad, thus misleading parliamentarians as well as the people of Pakistan,” he said.
The former attorney general said the premier’s loyalty to the state had become questionable because he had transferred his own wealth and that of his family abroad. The premier also did not give full tax on the income of his family.
“Similarly, Finance Minister Dar, CM Sharif, MNA Safdar and MNA Hamza Shahbaz wilfully concealed their assets both inside the country and abroad in their declarations to the ECP. There has also been a confessional statement from Mr Dar about money laundering,” Mr Khosa said.
He said the PPP would attach to its application a letter written to the late Benazir Bhutto by the prime minister’s cousin, Khalid Siraj, in which he had divulged details of the Sharifs’ wealth abroad.
In its application the PPP would be taking the plea that the prime minister and his four relatives did not meet the criteria laid down under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. Therefore, the ECP should disqualify them from holding public office forthwith.
In response to a question about the PML-N’s efforts to persuade the PPP not to take a tough stance on the Panama leaks, Mr Khosa said: “There will be no compromise on investigations into corruption scandals, particularly Panamagate. Mr Bhutto-Zardari has made it clear that there is no sacred cow... and the country cannot have two sets of laws — one for the influential and another for the poor.”
According to a source in the PPP, the PML-N leadership has requested Mr Zardari to stop Mr Bhutto-Zardari from issuing harsh statements about PM Sharif over Panamagate. In his public statements, the young PPP chairman has not only called for the premier’s resignation but also described the latter as a friend of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2016