The top PML-N leadership on Saturday made it clear that the ruling party will not accept the findings of the joint investigation team (JIT) charged with the Panamagate probe if the statements of a former Qatari prime minister are not made part of the report.

This was said in a press conference jointly addressed by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal.

In the past, Mark Siegel’s statement was recorded in the Benazir Bhutto murder case while he wasn’t in Pakistan, why can the same not be done in the case of the former Qatari PM, argued the defence minister.

The joint press conference focused on the proceedings of the JIT which, has been probing the Sharif family's business dealings abroad. During the press conference, the PML-N ministers repeatedly raised questions on the functioning of the JIT and expressed reservations on the process of investigation.

Khawaja Asif said that those behind repressing the investigation are not doing it based on the law but because "a dice has been rolled against us".

He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Maryam Nawaz have all presented themselves before the joint investigation team.

The defence minister said that the original jurisdiction of investigation of the companies owned by Sharifs lies with the countries where these companies were formed.

"It is interesting that neither Saudi Arabia nor the United Kingdom has raised any questions regarding the companies, but there is a hue and cry about them in Pakistan," Asif said.

Ahsan Iqbal said that PML-N leaders were political people and respected the rule of law, and believed that the right to rule lay with the 220 million people of the country.

PML-N leaders address a press conference. —APP
PML-N leaders address a press conference. —APP

He also demanded that the JIT proceedings be made public. "The video of what was asked and answered should be shown to the people," he said.

Railways Minister Saad Rafique said that an impression was given that the Federal Investigation Agency was going to head the JIT, but “recently there have been rumors that the JIT is being controlled by the members of intelligence agencies within the team”.

The minister said that the Sharif family was treated like common thieves and criminals without any proof against them. “But no one is ready to tell us where the theft took place.”

If years-old accounts are audited, many political families would find themselves in trouble, he maintained.

Questioning monetary 'irregularities' by Imran Khan

Khawaja Asif questioned that, "Has anyone asked Imran Khan how his ex-wife sent him money through a cousin? Why was a JIT not formed to probe that matter?"

The defence minister claimed that he had warned in October 2012 that "Imran had invested zakat money in Paris and put it in personal bank accounts."