Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has alleged that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan was following Turkey's Fethullah Gulen's model to destabilise the government.
Talking to DawnNews on Friday, the minister compared Imran Khan to Fethullah Gulen who, according to him, harboured a network in the political apparatus of Turkey through which he was trying to control the political system while he himself was in exile.
On the same pattern, Imran Khan was trying to destabilise the government with the help of like-minded officials and supporters, whether they are in the government institutions or politics, Iqbal claimed.
"He [Khan] is also manipulating our democratic process for his interests. He held Dharna 1, in which he used his sympathisers in various departments. Then he held Dharna 2, which was also a failed attempt and to some extent, he also played a role in this case.
"The judiciary told us that our speeches were aggressive. What about the speeches of Imran Khan when he was threatening that he will mobilise the masses against the JIT if it failed to pass a judgement against PM Sharif," Iqbal said.
Talking about Turkey's failed coup, he said he does not know if Khan has some sympathisers in the Army or not. He maintained that the Army is a professional force but Khan wants to follow the same model [to topple the government] as Gulen did.
"We had already said, even before the submission of its report, that the manner in which the joint investigation team was constituted and the way in which it conducted itself, it depicts political bias and a vested agenda was seen behind the scene," the minister maintained.
"As per our reservations and expectations, the report contained concocted and fabricated evidence. The media is demolishing (the points raised in the report) one by one and our lawyers have still to appear before the court."
Iqbal said that he believed all this to be "political theatre aimed at destabilising the government, sabotaging the economic journey which is going to provide the basis for PML-N's success in the next general elections, and creating hurdles against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)."
"It is aimed to weaken the supremacy of elected leadership in Pakistan. So, our party has taken a deliberated decision that we will confront this conspiracy. And we will contest this case in the court and prove that it was based on mala fide intentions."
When asked how the premier would run the country when he was facing allegations of corruption, Iqbal said it was not a new phenomenon as oppositions across the world level allegations against governments.
"For instance, allegations were levelled against the prime minister and the president of Turkey, as well as Malaysia, but systems kept functioning there. An opposition is supposed to level allegations."
Commenting on the point that the SC empowered JIT has already submitted a report in the court, the minister responded that the JIT report was even less important than secondary comments written by a station house officer in the file of a case.
"They (the JIT members) themselves have written that the so-called evidence was acquired by agencies, which keeps no weight as per the law and the Constitution."
Secondly, Iqbal said, the report contains several contradictions and it clearly shows that the JIT members framed particular questions to elicit answers that suit their agenda. "So, we should wait for the court proceeding on the report, during which our legal team will prove that the report was baseless."
"We are glad to know that despite all their grudges against the government, the JIT could not identify a single example of corruption in our ongoing tenure," the minister said.
Talking about Capital FZE, he said that the JIT portrayed in media that they have found an offshore company belonging to the prime minister; however, the matter of fact is that the company was owned by the son of the prime minister, and he was named chairman in the documents due to some legal issues in connection with acquiring resident visa.
When asked about documents that say that the prime minister had been drawing a salary since 2006 until 2014, he maintained that the son of the PM has already announced that he is ready to accept any punishment if the JIT proves that Nawaz Sharif has drawn even a single salary.
"Being chairman of a company does not translate into being a shareholder of the company. The premier had been keeping the office of the chairman as it was not a governmental post, neither did it translate into a clash of interest."
There are so many loopholes in the JIT report that the people of Pakistan will automatically know that the report was compiled to please the political agenda of a certain party, the minister maintained.
"It will also expose that someone has decided to undo the government through a judicial coup and someone wants to give rebirth to judicial 58 2(B).
"We have contributed to the freedom of judiciary and we do believe that the judiciary will decide as per the law of the land and the Constitution, and not as per the political likes and dislikes of anyone."
When asked to elaborate the term of judicial 58 2(B), he referred to the recent press conference of Javed Hashmi, saying that Hashmi revealed in the presser that Imran Khan had told him [Hashmi] that Nawaz Sharif would be defeated with the help of judges so you could not call it marshal law, "instead it would be a sort of judicial coup".
"Pakistan has paid the price for it and we have lost the decade of the 90s when we were suffering from the curse of Article 58 2(B). Now if someone is seeking to send back the premier or the government home through judicial means, then it could be called a judicial 58 2(B)."
The federal minister said that the nation was fully aware that the country was moving towards economic rehabilitation. "At a time when the country is moving forward, the common man wants the journey to continue. If you (Khan) are so great then let people decide in the 2018 general elections, which are just 10 months away," he said.
He also alleged that Imran Khan was not willing to finalise the electoral reforms; instead he was busy in political dramas. "This is the real issue, which will take six to eight months for completion."
Talking about the resignation of the premier, he said that in the current scenario tendering a resignation is tantamount to political suicide.
"It is impossible for the government to surrender when the JIT report is proven baseless and the resignation is being demanded by those who have been rejected by the masses. We are answerable to our voters, not Imran Khan."
Nawaz Sharif is not going to resign over a bag of lies, Iqbal asserted. "We want the Supreme Court to provide us justice and we are hopeful that we will be provided with justice in the apex court."