KARACHI: Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Bizenjo has alleged that a conspiracy has been hatched against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Speaking at a press conference here on Sunday, he advised the prime minister not to resign, and instead urged him to challenge the report a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has submitted to the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case.
“Pakistan cannot afford any internal disturbance as the country is passing through a crucial phase,” said the chief of the National Party (NP).
Says if Articles 62 and 63 are applied, all politicians, generals, bureaucrats and judges will have to go home
Mr Bizenjo said: “We all respect the judiciary and whatever the court decides with regard to the JIT report will be acceptable to all of us.”
However, he added that if Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution were applied in letter and spirit not only all the politicians but also generals, bureaucrats and judges would stand disqualified (from holding their offices).
In reply to a question about Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Mr Bizenjo said the minister was a “strict person”, but added that he could never part ways with Mr Sharif.
Answering another question, the NP chief said the prime minister and his family’s members appeared before the JIT in good faith, but the manner in which the inquiry was conducted smelt of bad intentions.
He said that Mr Sharif was the leader of the largest political party in the country and all political, religious and nationalist parties stood behind him.
The situation prevailing in the country was the outcome of international conspiracies as US Senator John McCain had said on record that his country was changing its policies and attitude (towards Pakistan), he said.
“The conditions prevailing in Afghanistan and differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia are before all of us and Pakistan’s relations with its neighbours are not very good. In this situation, attempts to create political instability is not a good omen for the country,” he said. He asked the JIT members whether they were unaware earlier that Prime Minister Sharif owned flats abroad and was a wealthy man.
In response to a question, he said the case of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was quite different from that of Mr Sharif. “Mr Sharif has accepted all verdicts of the court but Mr Gilani had refused to accept a court judgement and that was why he was declared ineligible for the [PM’s] office.”
The shipping minister said that Mr Sharif and his family members were treated as if they were criminals. “Husain Nawaz was interrogated for 24 hours.”
He said that at present development projects worth Rs1.5 billion were being implemented in the highways sector and projects worth Rs35bn in the power sector. “I challenge the JIT to show an iota of corruption in any of these projects.”
He said that martial law had been imposed in the country on five occasions on the plea that politicians were corrupt. Without naming any one, he appealed (to anti-democracy forces) to stop playing with the destiny of the country.
Mr Bizenjo said that efforts were being made to roll back the 18th Amendment but “we would not allow anyone to do so”.
Mr Bizenjo said that he was not supporting Mr Sharif because he had a stake in the government but for the sake of democracy. “We don’t want to see the democratic process derailing in the country.”
Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2017