Tug of war between PTI, PML-N continues

Updated 19 Jan 2017


ISLAMABAD: The war of words between the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) continued on Wednesday as leaders of the two parties hurled allegations at each other after conclusion of the hearing of the Panamagate case in the Supreme Court.

PTI chairman Imran Khan dubbed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar ‘money launderers’ and said the Panamagate case would decide their future.

Speaking at a press conference outside the court, Mr Khan alleged that the Sharif family had transferred funds abroad through money laundering and said the Federal Investigation Agency report, Mr Dar’s confessional statement, BBC documentaries and an article published by The Independent had highlighted the Sharif family’s corruption.

“How will these money launderers hold somebody accountable?” he asked.

He said it was amusing that Mr Sharif had delivered a lecture on corruption at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “It was like Altaf Hussain of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement talking on how to curb terrorism.”

Imran says Panamagate case to decide future of money launderers; minister claims PTI chief’s political career has come to an end

The PTI chairman said investigation being carried out against the prime minister in the Panamagate case was a historic investigation and a success of the nation. “This case will decide the future of Pakistan.”

He said the PML-N’s lawyer had unintentionally revealed another steel mills of the Sharif family and surprisingly the initial steel mills (Gulf Steel), which was running in losses, was reportedly reproducing other steel mills and properties worth billions of rupees. Mr Khan said the Sharif family had lied and left the country after a deal under [former president Pervez] Musharraf’s National Reconciliation Ordinance which they tried to hide for eight years.

He termed the Charter of Democracy signed between the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party ‘Muk Muka’ and said that under it, no one from the two parties was being prosecuted for their criminal acts.

Mr Khan said money laundering was the most heinous problem of the country as it was destabilising the foundations of Pakistan. “How is it possible for a country to prosper if it witnesses corruption of Rs12 billion on a daily basis?” he wondered.

Replying to a question about the proceedings of the Panama Pepers case in the Supreme Court, he said the bench was competent enough to make a final decision and the PTI would look into its recommendations to reach the bottom of the matter.

On the other hand, PML-N leaders continued to accuse the PTI and its chairman of levelling ‘baseless’ allegations.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif claimed that the political career of Imran Khan had come to an end and the decision of the Supreme Court would put a stamp on it.

He urged Mr Khan to tell the nation how he had sent money of Shaukhat Khanam Hospital to offshore banks.

Speaking at a press conference, Privatisation Commission chairman Mohammad Zubair said Prime Minister Sharif’s lawyer had told the court that his client had never committed any money laundering. “If the prime minister had laundered money from Pakistan it should be responsibility of the PTI to prove it in the court,” he said.

Daniyal Aziz, a member of the National Assembly, said Imran Khan and PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen were looking for refuge after foreseeing their defeat in the Panama Papers case.

Despite enjoying immunity, the prime minister had not sought the same for him and his family members in the case, he said.

Published in Dawn January 19th, 2017