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LAHORE: The Pakistan Peoples Party on Saturday finalised the draft of the reference it plans to file in the Election Commi­ssion of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday to seek the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and four of his relatives under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

“PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has approved the draft of the reference to be filed in the ECP on Monday to seek disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar as well as retired Capt Muhammad Safdar and Hamza Shahbaz, members of the National Assembly,” PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar told Dawn on Saturday.

Asked whether the PPP had made up its mind to file the reference following in the footsteps of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), he said: “Mr Bhutto-Zardari had approved the draft in the June 24 meeting of the party’s senior leadership whereas the PTI filed the reference after that.”

Over a month ago, on the directive of Mr Bhutto-Zardari, the PPP’s legal team prepared the draft of the reference but did not get a final nod of the chairman to file it. A source said the draft was also sent to former president Asif Ali Zardari who finally gave a go-ahead.

PPP secretary general Sardar Latif Khosa said: “Nawaz Sharif has concealed his assets in a declaration (submitted) to the ECP and also committed perjury during an address to parliament. He did not speak the truth about his own foreign assets and those of his family members, thus misleading parliamentarians and people.”

He said the prime minister’s loyalty to the state had become questionable because he had transferred abroad his own wealth and that of his family. The premier also did not pay full tax on the income of his family, he alleged.

“Similarly, Mr Dar, CM Sharif, Mr Safdar and Mr Hamza have wilfully concealed their assets in the country and abroad in their declarations to the ECP,” Mr Khosa added. “There has been a confessional statement from Mr Dar about money laundering.”

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 in foreign countries.

In the proposed reference, the PPP has taken 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, it says.

Mr Khosa said there would be no compromise on investigations into corruption scandals, particularly the Panama Papers leaks about offshore companies.

On Friday the PTI filed a reference in the ECP against the prime minister on the charge of ‘concealing his assets’. The 72-page reference filed by the PTI’s Yasmin Rashid alleged that PM Sharif had not mentioned the offshore companies revealed in the Panama Papers in his statements of assets submitted to the commission.

Karachi situation

In Karachi, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah met Mr Bhutto-Zardari and discussed the situation in the city.

They agreed that ‘some federal ministers’ always held the PPP’s provincial government responsible for its failure to maintain law and order while similar episodes were reported in other provinces as part of the prevailing terrorism phenomenon.

A statement issued by Bilawal House said the chief minister called on the PPP chairman and briefed him about the law and order situation and the provincial budget. “Some federal ministers are trying to define the National Action Plan against terrorism on a province-to-province basis,” the statement quoted the chief minister as saying. “They are trying to describe the incidents of terrorism in Sindh as a law and order problem to blame the PPP government, while similar acts of crimes in other provinces are treated as terrorism.”

Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2016