ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said on Tuesday that Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution should be enforced in letter and spirit, regardless of how many parliamentarians would be affected adversely by it.

Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, on the other hand, said that Mr Khan should be ready to face a defamation case for “levelling baseless allegations” at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

At a press conference, the PTI chairman said Articles 62 and 63 should be enforced even if each and every parliamentarian was disqualified as a result. “Only the state should survive, not the parliamentarians,” he said.

A judge of the Supreme Court had remarked during a hearing of the Panama Papers case that only Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq would survive if Articles 62 and 63 were applied to parliamentarians.

In response to a question, Mr Khan said he was struggling not to become a prime minister but to restore rule of law in the country.

Whatever the PTI had managed to unearth in the case against Prime Minister Sharif and his family should have been revealed by the National Accountability Bureau and other anti-corruption authorities in the wake of publication of the Panama Papers.

He alleged that the prime minister had told a lie in parliament and, therefore, had no legitimate right to rule anymore. “If a president or a prime minister of any country tells a lie, he has to resign,” he said.

He said that Naeem Bokhari had so far presented the PTI’s case in the Supreme Court in a very effective manner. “The Tehreek-i-Insaf has proved that Maryam Nawaz is owner of the London property and all supporting documents presented by N-League have proved to be wrong,” he claimed.

For her part, the minister of state for information said the PTI chairman told new stories everyday but “fabricated stories would never become a truth”.

Talking to media personnel outside the Supreme Court, Ms Aurangzeb said Mr Khan’s counsel had surprised everybody by saying that facts of the Panama Papers case should be left aside and that the speech made by the prime minister on the floor of the National Assembly should be discussed instead.

“Earlier, the PML-N leadership was responding to allegations about the Panama Papers, but now it is being asked to respond to the queries about PM’s speech,” she said.

“During the past ten months, the PTI has been doing politics on Panama Papers, telling lies and creating anarchy, but now it says that the documents should be ignored,” the minister said.

She said that Prime Minister Sharif had nothing to do with the Panama Papers, adding that the stance taken by her party and the premier were the same.

She said that in the past as well Mr Khan had levelled baseless allegations and tried to get off scot-free. “But this time he will not be allowed to escape as defamation laws exist in Pakistan and Imran will have to explain why he levelled baseless allegations against the thrice-elected prime minister,” she added.

Ms Aurangzeb said that all attempts by the PTI to defame the prime minister would fail miserably.

She urged the PTI chief to focus his attention on fulfilling the promises he had made to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for which he would be held accountable.

Published in Dawn January 11th, 2017

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