ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to take action against Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan under cybercrime and defamation laws for what its representatives describe as trying to influence the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Panama Papers case and besmirch the reputation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif through electronic, print and social media.

Addressing a joint press conference here on Monday, Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb and the ruling PML-N’s MNA Daniyal Aziz said that in his speeches and on the social media Mr Khan had tried to damage the reputation of the prime minister by levelling false allegations against him. The government had a right to proceed against him under the country’s cybercrime and defamation laws, they added.

“We will definitely take action against the PTI leadership,” the minister said, adding that it should not be called political victimisation because the PTI’s campaign against the prime minister fell within the purview of cybercrime laws.

Editorial: Panama Papers and media ‘court’

She said if the government took action against Mr Khan his party had no justification for raising objections over it.

PML-N leaders accuse PTI leadership of trying to influence SC decision in Panama Papers case

Ms Aurangzeb said work was under way to prepare a case against the PTI leadership under the cybercrime and defamation laws.

She alleged that Mr Khan and other leaders of his party had committed contempt of court by trying to influence the decision of the apex court in the Panama Papers case.

The minister claimed that the PTI had recently made a documentary film in which photographs of honourable judges of the apex court were being shown along with their remarks which suited the party’s stance in the Panama Papers case. “The documentary does not contain remarks of judges against the PTI,” she added.

She said the government was more resourceful and could make such a documentary, but it was silently waiting for the court’s decision in the case.

Editorial: Panama Papers: the larger picture

The minister said the prime minister and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had full confidence in the apex court and they would accept whatever decision was announced by it in the case.

She said the PTI could get nothing by hatching conspiracies and making documentaries against the government because the judges had already made it clear that they would not give a popular decision in the case and that they would decide purely on merit.

Answering a question, she said the prime minister had already said that he would accept the decision of the court.

The minister claimed that economic indicators in the country were positive and some international organisations had acknowledged performance of the government. The PML-N came into power at a time when the country was on the verge of bankruptcy. But now, she added, the national economy was showing positive indicators. She mentioned reduction in the duration of power loadshedding, bullish performance by the stock market and construction of motorways.

She claimed that there was a reduction in the number of terrorist incidents in the country.

She said it was a success of the government that the population census was being conducted in the country after 19 years.

Mr Aziz claimed that the PTI wanted the Supreme Court to form a commission to investigate the Panama Papers case.

He alleged that the main objective of the PTI behind the Panama Papers case was to damage the reputation of the prime minister and not a proper investigation into the case.

“Imran Khan has said in a recent statement that even if Nawaz Sharif is exonerated in the Panama Papers case, the stigma of corruption will stick to his political career,” he added.

He accused the PTI leadership of launching a campaign against the prime minister and his family on the media and its purpose was to influence the decision of the apex court in the Panama Papers case.

The two PML-N leaders claimed that Maryam Nawaz was not a dependent of Mr Sharif. She ran her own business and paid taxes regularly, they added.

Published in Dawn, March 14th, 2017



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