• Sana says those found guilty in funding, online hate campaign probes to be arrested
• PTI warned against violence in drive for snap polls
• Khattak says establishment not upset with PTI
LAHORE: The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is confident Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan is going to be disqualified in the Toshakhana reference as he has not declared in his assets the amount he received from the sale of state gifts.
“Imran Khan is certain to be disqualified in the Toshakhana reference as he did not declare in his assets the millions of rupees he received from the sale of state gifts. This is a two-plus-two case. He has done an illegal and immoral act and will be disqualified,” Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said while talking to journalists in Faisalabad on Monday.
Citing the case of his party supreme leader Nawaz Sharif, the minister said: “A standard has been set by disqualifying Nawaz Sharif for not receiving salary from his son’s company. If he can be disqualified over it then Imran Khan is certain to face the same fate for not declaring millions of rupees in his assets that he got after selling the Toshakhana gifts,” he stressed.
Last week, the PML-N-led coalition government filed a reference with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking disqualification of ousted premier Khan from holding public office for allegedly acquiring gifts from the Toshakhana state repository.
The reference demanded the ECP disqualify Imran under sections 2 and 3 of Article 63 of the Constitution, read with Article 62(1)(f). Article 62(1)(f) is the same provision under which former prime minister Nawaz was disqualified in 2017.
A group of MNAs associated with the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had filed another reference with the ECP seeking Mr Khan’s disqualification from holding public office for receiving prohibited funds from a number of foreign donors.
On the other hand, PTI senior leader and former minister Pervaiz Khattak said the so-called plans to oust Imran Khan from politics would not succeed. “Only the public can oust Khan from politics and no one else,” he said and declared there was nothing “concrete” against the PTI chairman in the prohibited funding and Toshakhana cases.
Interior Minister Sanaullah further said when a watch gifted to Imran by the ruler of a country was taken to a Dubai market the latter was contacted and asked whether it was stolen. “This was not only an illegal and immoral act, but it also affected Pakistan’s relations with that country,” he claimed.
Arrests in funding, chopper probes
Mr Sanaullah further asserted that the government would make arrests in the Federal Investigation Agency probes into the PTI’s prohibited funding and the malicious social media campaign against the army helicopter crash.
“The government has formed two committees of the FIA -- one probing into the social media smear campaign in the wake of the army’s chopper crash in Lasbela, and the other into PTI’s prohibited funds. Those found guilty in the investigations will be arrested,” Sana announced.
Former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry reminded Sanaullah to go after those (Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz) who were alleged to have laundered billions of rupees instead of forming several committees to probe into Rs20 million charges.
“The coalition government made Hamza Shehbaz, a Rs24 billion money laundering accused, flee to London, but formed five FIA teams to investigate Rs20m charges (against the PTI). Do Shehbaz and company consider the public fool? After Muharram, accountability of the suspects of May 25 will begin and the nation should start preparations for the final round of struggle for real independence,” Chaudhry announced.
PTI warned against violence
The interior minister warned that stricter action than that of May 25 (during the PTI’s long march on Islamabad) would be taken against Imran Khan and the PTI if they resorted to violence in the name of protests to press the government to call early polls.
“The PTI is allowed to hold peaceful protests as it is the constitutional right of the people, but if it resorts to violence or blackmail, the government will take stronger action than that of May 25,” he said, while referring to the PTI’s one-month ultimatum to the government for fresh elections.
Sana’s warning comes a day after former premier Khan said he would announce a strategy to “counter the fascism” of the coalition parties and not budge from his stance of fresh polls being the only solution to steer the country out of the economic crisis.
Sana also taunted Khan for pressing the government to announce a date for elections and at the same time demanding removal of the chief election commissioner (CEC). “You (Imran) should first remove the CEC before demanding fresh elections. You should stick to one stance. Also, you should dissolve the assemblies in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and then ask us for dissolution of the National Assembly,” he commented.
He also blamed Imran Khan for the hateful online campaign against martyrs of the army helicopter crash. He said Afghanistan had not yet blamed Pakistan for a drone attack on its soil in connection with the killing of Al Qaeda leader Zawahiri, but Imran was doing so.
‘Military not angry with PTI’
Meanwhile, former defence minister Pervaiz Khattak of the PTI claimed on Monday that he had been in touch with the military establishment and there was no animosity between the PTI and the army.
Talking to reporters in KP, Mr Khattak claimed: “I am in contact with the army and it is not angry with the PTI.”
He further said the government should first dissolve the Sindh and Balochistan assemblies after which the PTI would follow suit in Punjab and KP. He also asked Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan and face Imran Khan one-on-one.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2022