ISLAMABAD: In a tit-for-tat response, the government on Friday filed a reference with the speaker of the National Assembly for disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan as member of the assembly.
The PTI has already gone to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the de-seating of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Addressing a press conference at the Khyber Pakhtunkhaw House later, Mr Khan termed the government’s reference against him a tactic to divert the attention of people from his party’s upcoming movement for accountability of rulers.
Although filed at different forums, both sides in their references have accused each other party leaders of concealing assets, evading tax and being involved in money laundering and corruption.
In a press note, the National Assembly Secretariat said a delegation of the members of the National Assembly from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) met Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in his chamber at the Parliament House on Friday.
PTI chief terms the reference a govt tactic to divert people’s attention
During the meeting, it said, the members of the delegation submitted a reference to the speaker under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution for the disqualification of Imran Khan as member of the National Assembly.
The delegation comprised MNAs Mohammad Talal Chaudhry, Daniyal Aziz, Mohsin Nawaz Ranjah, Mohammad Hamid Hameed, Nadeem Abbas, Syed Mohammad Ashiq Hussain Shah, Mohammad Khan Daha and Mian Abdul Manan.
“The members of delegation sought speaker’s decision on the disqualification of Imran Khan,” said the statement.
In response, the speaker assured the members that decision on the reference would be taken according to the constitution and rules of procedures.
As per the Constitution, the speaker is bound to take action on the reference within 30 days. Otherwise, it will be transferred to the ECP for necessary action.
Talking to media personnel outside the Parliament House, the members of the PML-N delegation said the PTI chief had committed tax evasion by concealing his assets.
They said the PTI chief had himself admitted owning an offshore company, which he continued to hold until 2015, but never mentioned it in the declaration of his assets. They were of the view that Mr Khan always talked about receiving a gift from his ex-wife to buy property.
They said this transaction also needed to be probed. “We have enough documentary evidence to prove that Mr Khan has deliberately concealed his property, hence, stands disqualified as member of the National Assembly,” said Daniyal Aziz.
‘Why now, why not before’
At the press conference, the PTI chief simply laughed off the content of the government’s reference against him.
Without directly addressing the accusations, Mr Khan said: “Why now, why not before. If I have committed something wrong, the PML-N has been in power for quite some now and must have taken action against me.”
The PTI chief said the only purpose behind the filing of this reference at this moment was to divert the attention of people from his party’s movement for accountability of the government.
“If somebody thinks by such acts the rulers will be able to blackmail me, they are mistaken,” he added.
Throughout his press conference, Mr Khan said come what may he would go ahead
with the movement and would take it to its logical conclusion and make the Sharif brothers accountable before the rule of law.
He said: “If the government seriously thinks I have committed some financial crime, let’s me and prime minister be tried by the terms of reference which opposition parties have proposed.”
Hoping change in near future as a result of his movement, Mr Khan said if given the power he would not accuse, but put the corrupt people in jail.
In reply to a question, Mr Khan said his party supported peaceful relations with neighbouring countries.
Mr Khan said the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was trying to bring some real changes through impartial accountability and introduction of laws, such as conflict of interest and whistle blowers act.
Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2016