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KARACHI: In line with the promise the prime minister made soon after emergence of the Panama Papers, he and his children will appear before investigation officers appointed by the Supreme Court in the case and will not be bothered about their grades, says Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb.

The federal minister, while speaking at the “Meet the Editors” programme of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) on Sunday, said any differences between the country’s institutions over a news report published in Dawn in October last year would be resolved in a couple of days after issuance of a notification by the interior ministry on the matter.

She denied that a decision had been made to appoint Maryam Nawaz as a stand-in prime minister of the country. “No decision has been made [so far] to appoint her as the country’s next prime minister. That is just opposition propaganda,” she said.

The decision about the next prime ministerial candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz would be taken at a later date, said Ms Aurangzeb.

PM, family members to appear before JIT

She said that in his very first speech after the emergence of Panama Papers, Mr Sharif had made it clear that if a joint investigation team was formed he would appear before it along with his children.

The prime minister also wrote a letter to the Supreme Court and requested it to form a commission to look into the matter. Later the case was heard by the Supreme Court and the prime minister faced all allegations levelled at him.

The minister pointed out that three generations of the Sharifs had been made accountable in the Panama Papers case.

Ms Aurangzeb, however, said that successful conclusion of the case would strengthen the country’s democracy. Mr Sharif was presenting himself for accountability and all other leaders should do the same.

“The next era will also be a democratic one,” she said.

In response to a question, the minister tried to dispel the impression that attempts were being made to impose restrictions on the media.

The minister criticised the electronic media which in her opinion spread despondency about the state of affairs right from 7am to midnight. “But when we read the newspapers the next day we find that the situation was actually quite different from what the television channels were saying.”

The media houses and the CPNE should follow their own codes of conduct and project positive image of Pakistan across the world, Ms Aurangzeb said.

Pakistan had rendered tremendous sacrifices for elimination of terrorism and Raddul Fasaad and other operations were going on successfully, she said.

Answering a question, the minister said the government was working on a legislation regarding security and welfare of journalists for which all stakeholders would be consulted.

Earlier CPNE’s vice-president Aamir Mehmood informed the minister of the problems being faced by newspapers.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2017