Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan questioned how the PML-N could threaten to reject the report being prepared by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigating the Sharif family's alleged corruption. He was speaking at a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday.
A day earlier on Saturday, the top PML-N leadership had made it clear that the ruling party would not accept the findings of the JIT charged with the Panamagate probe if the statements of the former Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, were not made part of the report.
Sheikh Hamad had reportedly sent a second letter asking the JIT to record his statement at his palace before submitting its final report to the Supreme Court (SC). The JIT, however, informed the Qatari billionaire that he must either appear in person at its secretariat at the Federal Judicial Academy, Islamabad, or testify through video link from Pakistan’s embassy in Doha.
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The PTI chief on Sunday implied that the PML-N's decision to reject the JIT report was out of fear that the investigation would lead to the disqualification of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
"The Supreme Court did not create the JIT for them [the Sharif family]. How did they say that they won't accept the JIT? The JIT has to report to the SC, not them," Khan thundered.
"Were they unaware two months ago that the Qatari's letter would become scrap paper unless he appeared in court?" the PTI chief asked. "Why didn't they ask him to appear earlier?"
Now, one day before the report is to be submitted to the SC, the PML-N leaders are saying that they will not accept it, Khan said.
The PTI chief claimed that although various members of the Sharif family who appeared before the JIT went into the JIT secretariat smiling and waving, they came out with frowns on their faces, complaining about him [Khan] and how the JIT did not answer their questions. "What is evident from their faces when they come out is that they know the JIT investigation has reached a point where Nawaz Sharif is going to be disqualified."
The PTI chief added that the ruling party had termed the alleged attempts to remove the current prime minister from his post "a conspiracy against democracy", adding, "But they won't accept the SC decision."
"A conspiracy cannot stem from two institutions: the Supreme Court and the Army. Now they are after these two institutions," he alleged. "And yesterday, you said the same to the JIT."
According to the PTI chief, he had called the press conference "because I think they will try to directly attack the Supreme Court."
He called on the nation and the lawyers to help prevent such an occurrence. "When you attack institutions, you ruin the country. One family is trying to save its corruption by ruining the country," he said. "They know they have lost this case."
The JIT is expected to submit its report on Monday. PML-N leaders, including Khawaja Asif and Khawaja Saad Rafique, also addressed party workers on Sunday, and showed support for their leaders ahead of the JIT report.