ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday termed the leaked audio tape allegedly of former chief justice Saqib Nisar “a drama” saying it (emergence of such tapes) started when the corruption of the Sharif family was exposed in the Panama Papers.

In the tape, former chief justice Saqib Nisar is purportedly telling someone that it is imperative to keep Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz behind bars to bring Imran Khan to power.

Addressing the Kamyab Jawan Convention, the prime minister, while referring to Asma Jahangir Conference recently held in Lahore, lamented that self-exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who had been convicted in Panama Papers case, was allowed to address the event to which senior judges of the Supreme Court were invited. “It was unfortunate that the chief justice of Pakistan and a convict (Nawaz Sharif) were invited to speak at the same event,” he said.

Deplores a ‘convict’ addressed an event where CJP was invited

The prime minister said the Sharif family maligned the state institution when it was asked to give money trail of four costly apartments in London. “When Nawaz Sharif was convicted, he first raised the slogan “Mujhe Kyun Nikala” (why was I removed) and later “the army, the judiciary and I were maligned. I was called a brutal man”.

A few days ago a controversy generated after PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s address via video link was disrupted when its livestream was abruptly stopped at Asma Jahangir Conference.

“There was a function in Lahore where the chief justice and Supreme Court judges were invited and who addresses that event? A man who has been convicted by the Supreme Court and who has absconded from the country,” the prime minister said. “It is unfortunate.”

The prime minister said nations were destroyed when they stopped considering looting money a bad thing.

Giving example of the state of Madina, he said the foundation the state was laid on the basis of differentiating between right and wrong and denouncing the bad.

“A country where its head, prime minister and ministers start stealing and taking public funds abroad [...] Countries are not poor because of a lack of resources, they become poor when government functionaries start stealing from the people. Such a country can never progress.”

Commenting on the Panama Papers, the premier said the investigation revealed that PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz owned four flats in London.

“Where did this money [for the apartments] come from?” he asked, and continued: “You may call the courts bad, you may call the army bad and I have already been [dubbed] bad ... But answer from where did you get the money to buy those apartments.”

“On the contrary, Nawaz Sharif first told a lie in National Assembly, then came the Qatari letter and the Calibri font. They have not so far presented even a single paper [of evidence] about the financial source of flats,” he remarked.

The prime minister said that when corruption was not considered a crime, it destroyed the nations.

Mr Khan said he was also dragged to the court over an apartment he owned in the United Kingdom, when he was a cricket star. “But, I, submitted all details [regarding the case] to the court,” he added. “I produced all the receipts, but they (PML-N leaders) lied in the National Assembly [regarding their assets].”

Not a single document [has been shared] that shows the means to buy the flats [owned by them],” he said.

‘Opportunity to change lives’

During the function, the prime minister launched four projects for the uplift of the youth. The projects are: Kamyab Jawan Markaz, Kamyab Jawan Green Youth Movement, Kamyab Jawan Innovation League and Kamyab Jawan Talent Hunt Youth Sports League.

The prime minister said such projects gave the people an opportunity to develop skills, get loans to start the businesses and “change their lives”.

Sharing his experiences and difficulties he had faced during his career in cricket, politics and philanthropy, he said he was able to overcome challenges through hard work and because he dreamt big.

The premier said that when he started his political journey 25 years ago, he found corruption to be the country’s biggest problem.

“There was a corrupt system in place and that’s why it is taking longer to make things right,” he said, adding that the nation, however, had great potential and was on its way to rise and “become something that is beyond imagination”.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021

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