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Imran terms Nawaz a 'security risk', alleges Shahbaz divulged state secrets to US

January 05, 2018

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Sharifs reached out to the Americans for personal gains, Imran says at press conference in Islamabad. —DawnNews
Sharifs reached out to the Americans for personal gains, Imran says at press conference in Islamabad. —DawnNews

Terming Nawaz Sharif a "security risk" for Pakistan, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday also accused Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif of handing out state secrets to American officials.

Khan, while addressing a press conference in Islamabad, referenced Wikileaks' leaked diplomatic cables from US missions worldwide to accuse the Sharif brothers of "selling the country to the Americans".

He claimed that Wikileaks had revealed that Shahbaz had told American senators that Pakistanis had been complicit in the 2008 Mumbai attacks and also assured them he would take strict action against those involved.

"On one hand, they [the PML-N] — with people like [Punjab Law Minister] Rana Sanaullah — have been harbouring their own extremists groups; while on the other, Shahbaz went around telling the Americans that 'we want to take over the Jamaatud Dawa's madressahs, hospitals and wider network but want proof from you to begin proceedings against them in the courts'," Khan claimed.

The PTI chief also cast doubt on the role of the PML-N in the movement for the restoration of the judiciary, claiming that Shahbaz had told America's then principal officer in Lahore, Brian Hunt, that former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was "a problematic figure who could create issues for the PML-N itself."

"He then presented four demands to Brian Hunt," Khan alleged, "the first of which was the removal of the bar on a politician becoming chief minister or prime minister for the third term."

"Shahbaz's second demand was the restoration of his government in Punjab, as governor rule had been imposed in the province when this meeting happened," Khan claimed.

The third demand was an opportunity to save face even if Iftikhar Chaudhry could not be successfully restored. The last was a return of the prime minister's powers taken away by former president Pervez Musharraf, Khan claimed.

"He reached out to the Americans just for personal gain," Khan said as he leveled these allegations.

"When the country's leadership will say such things to the American leadership, who will stand for you?" Khan asked.

He also alleged that, while Nawaz Sharif claims to be a harbinger of peace, the ousted prime minister had told Saudi Arabia that his government wanted to send the Pakistan Army to Yemen. However, the then chief of army staff (COAS) and incumbent Commander of the Islamic Military Alliance, retired Gen Raheel Sharif, had not agreed to the proposal.

Khan said Nawaz had taken the decision despite parliament's unanimous decision to block the deployment of any forces to Yemen.

Responding to Nawaz's threat that he would spill the beans on various conspiracies if political intrigue is not stopped, Khan asked why he had remained quiet while he was in power and responsible for whatever happened in the country. "It is like the chief executive of Shaukat Khanum saying there have been incidents of theft in the country over the past four years, but I have remained quiet."

"If there are excesses happening in the country, why did you stay quiet?" he asked.

He also alleged that, according to Wikileaks, Nawaz had told the Americans that: "I am your best friend and will remain your best friend forever."

Turning his guns on the PML-N's coalition partner and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman, Khan said the Americans had written in their leaked diplomatic cables that Fazl had "significant votes for sale" to the Americans.

Khan also expressed his pride at being termed by the Americans as the "only politician who tells them in private what he tells the public."

"I have been saying this since the beginning that this [the US's 'War on Terror'] was not our war and we were dragged into it just for money" Khan said. "But now it has become our war."