LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Punjab government has decided not to make political statements and counter-statements on the arrest of its senior minister Aleem Khan for allegedly having offshore companies and assets beyond his means as “it believes in state institutions role of dispensing justice.”
The arrest of Aleem Khan, who was known as the PTI’s financial backbone (satirically called ATM) alongside Jahangir Khan Tareen, came as a bombshell for the party as its members believed that he was appearing before the NAB since the PML-N was in power and could explain sources of his wealth.
“Aleem Khan had been appearing before the NAB on all hearings and there was nothing to worry about,” a party spokesman said.
At least three Punjab ministers contend for the vacated slot
Following the arrest, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar held a one-on-one meeting and later chaired a meeting with cabinet members to take stock of the situation. They decided to collect relevant information from Aleem Khan’s family.
Lauding Mr Khan’s services for the party, the meeting participants explained that it was a depressing situation that their senior colleague was arrested.
However, the meeting also resolved that the party was for independence of state institutions and that the country could not progress until the institutions were allowed to work without any pressure. They hoped that the law would take its course and the former senior minister would get justice.
Talking to the media persons, Governor Sarwar urged the NAB to continue its work with the same vigor and arrest all those who callously looted the country during the past three decades. Acknowledging that everyone was equal in the eyes of the law, the governor lauded Aleem Khan for resigning from his office and setting an example for others to follow.
He said Mr Khan had rendered great services for the party and struggled till its victory in the 2018 general elections. He said the ex-senior minister had always appeared before the NAB, whenever he was summoned.
While the party was is unison in acknowledging the services of Khan, some ministers have begun “work” to grab the senior minister’s slot.
“Housing minister Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed, law minister Basharat Raja and forestry and wildlife minister Sibtain Khan are the contenders for the slot,” party sources said.
Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2019