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Imran warns PML-N against efforts to discredit JIT, intimidate judiciary

Updated June 29, 2017

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Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan threatened on Wednesday to launch a mass movement if the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz tried to create hurdles in the implementation of the decision of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing money laundering charges against the Sharif family.

Talking to reporters after presiding over a party meeting at his Banigala residence, the PTI chief took exception to last week’s press conference of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in London in which he had reportedly stated that the people of Pakistan would not accept any adverse decision of the JIT.

“I am challenging you today. I will give just one call… people are ready to come out on to the streets,” Mr Khan said.

“If you try to repeat what you did in 1997 by attacking the Supreme Court, or if you try to intimidate the judiciary, or if you try to do anything in case of a decision against you, I will give just one call and then you will see,” the cricketer-turned-politician went on saying.

He alleged that the PML-N was making all-out efforts to discredit the Supreme Court-appointed JIT as the Sharifs knew that the verdict was coming against them because they had failed to give replies to the questions put before them by the JIT members.

“His (PM’s) London news conference proves that they (Sharifs) know that the decision will not come in their favour. That’s why they are applying pressure tactics (on the judiciary),” he added.

Talking to reporters upon his arrival in London last week, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had raised questions about the proceedings of the JIT about his family’s financial affairs in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations and stated that he would “bravely face conspiracies” and would not let them succeed.

The prime minister had said that the JIT’s history started with a WhatsApp call [by the Supreme Court registrar]... and even before that”, adding that the nation was heading in one direction and the JIT in another.

Flanked by party members, the PTI chairman alleged that the Sharifs had failed to show the money trail in the JIT and that was why they were raising fingers at the JIT and the Supreme Court.

He claimed that an amount of $1,000bn was flown abroad from the country every year due to money laundering. He also lashed out at the prime minister for spending Eid abroad as the country faced tragedies one after the other. He also criticised the prime minister and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for visiting only Bahawalpur to express solidarity with the victims of oil tanker tragedy while totally ignoring the victims of terrorism in Parachinar and Quetta.

Mr Khan also castigated the prime minister for visiting Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah by using the taxpayers’ money.

“Who does Umrahs (pilgrimage) on government expenses and arranges Umrah visits for 60 people from taxpayers’ money and then spend holidays abroad? Have you ever heard about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi or any other democratic leader doing such things?” he asked.

He was of the view that the Sharifs had visited only Bahawalpur as they knew that their party could only secure seats in the elections from the province. He said the prime minister should realise that he was chief executive of the whole country and not only Punjab.

While referring to the JIT’s decision to summon the prime minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz, the PTI chief said Nawaz Sharif himself was responsible for dragging his children before the JIT and the Supreme Court as he wanted to hide his corruption and money laundering.

“Look, now the children of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif are making money. The children of Ishaq Dar are billionaire. Where they had got this money from?” he asked.

Mr Khan criticised the prime minister for not visiting Parachinar, but when asked as to why he himself had not visited the area, he said that he could not go there due to bad weather and lack of security clearance. “Since the area is under the army’s control, I will visit the place after seeking permission from the military,” he said.

In response to another question, he said that he had come to know that some of the injured persons had been shifted to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar from Parachinar and that he would soon visit them.

Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2017