LAHORE: PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif has said Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to see him behind the bars by implicating him in cases based on flimsy grounds.
The opposition leader in the National Assembly chose not to take questions in his presser at Model Town here on Wednesday.
He made only one comment related to his elder brother former prime minister Nawaz Sharif whose online speech at the multi-party conference in Islamabad on Sunday last about the military establishment’s role in the country’s politics generated a lot of debate and controversy.
“We are standing with Nawaz Sharif for the progress of Pakistan,” Shahbaz said. Former premier and the party’s senior vice-president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah and Marriyum Aurangzeb were also present.
“Imran Khan wants to see me in jail. I am ready to go to jail on his (PM Khan) wish. (Former chief justice) Saqib Nisar had opened the case of 56 companies (against me). Not a single rupee corruption allegation was proved in any development project. I reiterate… hang me even after my death if corruption against me is established,” he said and alleged that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) were harassing the people (in connection with cases against him and his family members).
He further said: “We faced jails in the past and we are not afraid. Things change suddenly, Imran Khan should not forget this.”
He said the people got disappointed with the “selected” government of Imran Niazi in two years. “Selected PM is busy in covering up wheat and sugar scandals. He did money laundering in the foreign funding cases. If ECP brings forth these facts, Niazi cannot stay in his office for a minute,” he said, adding that despite passage of several moths the Election Commission of Pakistan could not decide this matter.
“The NAB-Niazi nexus has broken all record of instituting false cases against us,” the PML-N president alleged and wondered as how Imran’s sister Aleema Khan’s foreign assets case was not being touched as she was given amnesty to declare her assets. “Imran also took advantage of the amnesty scheme,” he added.
Shahbaz asked why Malam Jaba and helicopter issues were not being probed.
“What happened to sugar and wheat scandals… the real culprits in these scandals are Imran and Usman Buzdar. NAB proved that it sees faces and not cases,” he said.
“If economic issues are not addressed, no one can stop its [country’s] destruction.”
Shahbaz said his government saved billions for the country in the development projects. “We saved Rs1,000bn during our tenure in Punjab. Niazi made three allegations of corruption against me but could not prove a single one, rather running from courts in this regard. Imran Khan is a habitual liar. He tarnished the name of Pakistan in China and the UK,” he said.
In Rs100bn Peshawar BRT project, he said four buses had burnt so far, adding that metro projects of Punjab, Rawalpindi and Multan had been completed with an equal amount.
“Massive corruption in the BRT project has been committed, but it was not being probed,” he regretted.
“Two years on, this [Lahore] Orange Line train project is still pending. Billions of rupees were added to the cost because of the two years delay in the project. The PML-N government saved Rs81bn in this project and also Rs4bn in the Safe City Project comprising 8,000 cameras. A sum of Rs225bn was saved in power projects by the PML-N government,” he said.
He said Imran Niazi must remember that the reversal of fortunes had to take place. “If courts allow me, I will present irrefutable evidence [to show] how our families bore billions of rupees losses but did not compromise on principles.”
He also asked where the allegation of $5bn money laundering to India against Sharif family stood today.
He recalled that Imran Khan had said he would form a commission to expose squandering of loans by the past governments, and asked, “What happened to that [claim].”
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020