Nawaz asks Imran to identify those who asked for NRO

Updated October 30, 2018

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Former premier Nawaz Sharif. — Photo/File
Former premier Nawaz Sharif. — Photo/File

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday rejected a recent statement by Prime Minister Imran Khan that opposition politicians had asked for some relief under a deal like the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

While making it clear that his party had not sought any such concession, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo said: “Imran Khan should have the moral courage to at least disclose the names of those seeking the NRO.”

Mr Sharif said he returned to the country to face cases while his wife was on her deathbed. “Mr Khan should now stop levelling baseless allegations without having any tangible proof, as it is not a good practice.”

In his last week address to the nation, Mr Khan had announced that the opposition parties wanted an NRO from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government. He said he wanted to tell them categorically that no one would get an NRO even if they staged street protests.

“You can come out on the streets. We will give you containers and give you food. You can do whatever you want in the assemblies. [But] no one will get an NRO,” he said.

Rejects PM’s statement as an allegation; says Fazl’s suggestions will be discussed with other party leaders

Speaking to journalists after attending legal proceedings in the Flagship reference in an accountability court on Monday, the former premier, who had not addressed the media for the past few months, said: “Imran should explain who had applied for the NRO and before whom application to get an NRO was submitted.”

He regretted that the National Account­ability Bureau (NAB) had dragged Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif into baseless cases to keep him in their custody.

“NAB summoned Shahbaz in Saaf Pani case, arrested him in Ashiyana Housing case and after realising that they did not have evidence in that case, they are preparing another case against Shahbaz this time about owning assets beyond means,” said Mr Sharif.

He said it was an irony that the former chief minister, who had worked day and night for the development of Punjab, was arrested and dragged into false cases.

Mr Sharif then talked about his recent meeting with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, but did not divulge the detail of their discussion.

“I don’t want to make public what we had discussed,” he said, adding that the suggestions the PML-F chief had made would first be shared with the PML-N president and other leaders.

About his silence since his release on bail, the ex-PM said that he, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and other family members were still in grief over the demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz. He said that it would haunt him throughout his life that he was not with his wife while she was on her deathbed.

JIT head cross-examined

Earlier, the counsel for the former prime minister, Khawaja Haris Ahmed, cross-examined Wajid Zia, head of the six-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that probed the Panama Papers allegations, in the Flagship reference before the accountability court.

The defence counsel put several questions to the star prosecution witness regarding the JIT’s correspondence with the UAE and the Saudi governments. He also quizzed the witness over the JIT’s contacts with Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani.

Mr Zia told the court that the Qatari prince refused to appear before the JIT at its secretariat in Islamabad to testify though he later set certain conditions for recording of his statement. The witness said that the JIT had decided not to send him a questionnaire before recording his testimony.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2018