Minister says opposition alliance popularity on the wane

Published January 20, 2021
— Screengrab courtesy SSII YouTube video/File
— Screengrab courtesy SSII YouTube video/File

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said on Tuesday that the unearthing of foreign assets of the Sharif family by Broadsheet would prove to be another Panama Papers for the Sharif family.

She said the Sharif family’s multiple illegal assets abroad unearthed by the credible recovery firm Broadsheet were only tip of the iceberg as the volume of their corruption was much more.

Talking to media, she said the proofs of unprecedented corruption of the Sharifs had been detected by a United Kingdom- based assets recovery firm and not by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government. Obviously the firm had no grudge against the Sharif family, she added.

She said properties worth millions of dollars of the Sharif family had already been detected in many countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom, etc.

Mazari believes Broadsheet revelations will be another Panama Papers for Sharifs

To a question, she cited the example of former Pakistan ambassador to UK Wajid Shamsul Hassan, who had tried to destroy the evidence of corruption of Asif Ali Zardari and PPP leadership.

Castigating Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz, she said Ms Nawaz had already taken benefit of two NROs. “She should thoroughly read the judgement of London’s arbitration court. Maryam should be ashamed of the conduct and corruption of her family, whose volume of corruption had plunged the country into poverty quagmire,” the minister said and added that people had endured double losses due to multiple payments to asset recovery companies.

They (the Sharifs) should return the plundered money of poor people of Pakistan, she said and alleged that PML-N had received money from India. Nawaz Sharif did not bother to meet All Parties Hurriyat Conference leaders during his visit to India as prime minister, she said.

Responding to another question, Dr Mazari said a representative of Maulana Fazlur Rehman had visited Israel.

About the inquiry into the Broadsheet affair, she said an inquiry committee had been tasked with conducting investigations covering all aspects right from inking of the agreement with the asset recovery firm to its cancellation and also fixing the responsibility. The inquiry committee has the powers to summon anyone having any link with the episode. The culprits and facilitators would be punished in light of the findings of the report, she said.

‘PDM weakness exposed’

At a separate presser, federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) “limited” public gathering of around 3,000 people outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) headquarters had exposed actual following of the opposition parties.

He asked the opposition parties to announce schedule of their long march now being their last option to exercise against the government. However, he said, the march would face the same public response like Tuesday’s rally.

He said not a single container was placed anywhere in the way of the PDM rallies while police also did not stop even a single protester despite high alert. They were given free hand to enter Red Zone but the PDM leadership could manage only a flop show, Mr Ahmed said.

Due to limited public participation in the protest, he said, even Metro Bus Service remained functional.

As per media reports only 2,000 to 3,000 people participated in the protest, which showed the PDM’s level of popularity, he said. “Now we are waiting to welcome their long march, which will be their last attempt to convince the government for giving them an NRO.”

However, he said, the opposition parties under the leadership of Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Maryam Nawaz should be clear that Prime Minister Imran Khan would never give them any NRO at any cost and they should better stop implementing their anti-Pakistan agenda.

The minister asked the PDM leadership to stop targeting those who were safeguarding the motherland.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday established a control room to monitor the PDM protest being staged outside the ECP headquarters.

The interior minister visited the control room along with Interior Secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokhar and reviewed the facilities provided there.

The minister also visited the ECP headquarters to review security arrangements.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2021

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