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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has announced that his party will hold a massive rally in the federal capital to express solidarity with the judiciary in response to criticism being levelled by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his aides.

Addressing a press conference after chairing a meeting of PTI’s parliamentary party, Mr Khan said he would announce the date of the grand rally aimed at showing that people stood by the judiciary later.

He declared that he would visit various parts of the country to mobilise the masses in favour of the judiciary. “The PML-N is now heading for a clash of institutions on the pretext of having the ‘people’s mandate’, I will show to them that the public stands with justice, not with them,” he maintained.

Says ex-PM Sharif should have been put behind bars a long time ago

“Nawaz Sharif is trying to paint himself as an innocent person after robbing the public exchequer and stashing looted wealth abroad. He has only weakened state institutions for petty personal and political gains,” the PTI chief alleged.

Talking about the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case, he said: “Nawaz Sharif’s lies have been exposed time and again.”

The former prime minister should have been put behind bars for these falsehoods a long time ago. Mr Sharif’s first such falsehood came to the fore when he produced in court the Qatari letter in his defence, Mr Khan said.

The second lie, he added, emerged when Maryam Nawaz’s documents were found to be forged, as the Calibri font was not commercially available at the time.

“Nawaz Sharif would have been in jail if the institutions were fully functional and non-partisan. He appointed his favourite officers to the top slots in the institutions and government departments, particularly the National Accountability Bureau and Federal Board of Revenue, to hide his corruption,” said Mr Khan.

He also criticised Shahbaz Sharif and alleged that a former policeman, Abid Boxer, had said clearly that the chief minister used to get his rivals and opponents killed through policemen in fake encounters.

In response to a question, he said the PTI’s parliamentary party would suggest names of people fit to be appointed in the caretaker set-up after due deliberations.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2018