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FORMER railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafique speaking at the press conference.—APP
FORMER railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafique speaking at the press conference.—APP

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s comments about a senior judge, who was quoted by him as making some remarks at the time of Islamabad’s ‘lockdown’ last year, not only stirred a debate on social media but also angered the ‘wounded’ PML-N, which called upon the judiciary to investigate the matter.

At a press conference held here on Sunday, PML-N leader and former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafique made the demand to investigate the claims Mr Khan and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid made regarding the judges hearing the Panama Papers case.

“Imran Khan should be summoned in court to explain his statement that a sitting judge requested him to call off the Islamabad lockdown and come to court. This is a serious allegation and must be investigated so that the truth comes forth,” Mr Rafique said.

Ex-minister advises PTI chief to shun ‘politics of destruction’

He called upon the judges to also summon Mr Rashid who claimed that billions of rupees had been offered to judges (hearing the Panama Papers case). “Did anyone ask Rashid when and where this money was offered and how did he come to know about it.

“Veteran politician Javed Hashmi had also made some sensational revelations in this regard, but the court did not take notice,” the former minister said.

“We demand that the apex court take notice of Imran’s and Rashid’s statements about judges and thoroughly investigate them,” he added.

As some senior journalists tweeted Mr Khan’s comments about a judge, the PTI chairman clarified his position and said: “A deliberate attempt is being made to distort what I said in an interview [to a private TV channel].”

He also attached a clipping of a report based on the apex court’s order a day ahead of Nov 2, 2016 lockdown of Islamabad, directing the PML-N government and PTI to file their replies to a suggestion to form a body as the apex court is a supreme forum to resolve conflicts.

Mr Rafique also asked Mr Khan to shun the politics of “destruction” before it was too late. “Imran... you need to change yourself. Change your style of politics. Eventually you will have to come to us as you will realise your mistakes soon,” he said.

The former minister warned that if a Sharif was ousted through a conspiracy then another one would come and this would continue until conspiracies against the Sharif family were not stopped.

The PML-N leader said the time had come for new terms of reference to be written to decide who would rule the country. “Why a prime minister is always wrong. We will legislate to do away with Articles 62 and 63 from the Constitution,” he said, admitting that his party had committed a mistake by refusing to abolish the articles in the past.

He said that if the articles were also applied to them, the PCO judges, former army chief Pervez Musharraf, former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and his son would also have to face the music.

Mr Rafique claimed that some ‘characters’ of the conspiracy against the PML-N government had been exposed. “Nawaz Sharif has been ‘freed’ now and he will do politics freely and Shahbaz will perform his duty as a prime minister,” he said.

Like the verdict against Z.A. Bhutto, no one would accept Mr Sharif’s disqualification.

He said that former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had restarted attending the party’s meetings.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2017