Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb on Friday challenged PTI chief Imran Khan to name the agencies and the people working in them who he claimed had briefed him on the PPP and PML-N alleged graft.
“Who used to give you the reports? Who used to tell you all these things? Name them,” she pressed.
Aurangzeb’s statements come a day after the former premier claimed that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) used to tell him about the alleged corruption done by the two political parties. “I started believing that the establishment would act but that did not happen,” he said in a seminar yesterday.
He had also urged the “neutrals” — a term he uses for the military establishment — to review their policies while there was still time, adding that “decisions taken behind closed doors” were not in the country’s favour.
Addressing a news conference today, the information minister recalled that the PTI chief had passed similar comments regarding the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja.
“You said the agency had given you guarantees about the CEC […] who had given you the guarantees? What did they say? And why were you receiving guarantees?”
And then, Aurangzeb continued, Imran said that he used to receive reports from agencies. “Did you ask for those reports? And who from the agencies gave you reports?
“Imran Khan sahab, stop this drama and lies. If you have the courage, tell us who from what agency used to give you reports on PPP and PML-N […],” she demanded.
And reveal the guarantees that were given, she went on, asking if those guarantees involved not declaring Imran a “foreign agent or the PTI a foreign-funded party”.
Marriyum then said that Imran always levelled allegations on others all the while refusing to give answers himself, appear before courts, or provide evidence to back up those accusations.
“You slung mud on other people, and you say the agencies were giving you briefings? Do you have any shame?” she questioned. “You made a joke of such a big country’s democracy. Do you think your sins will be forgiven if you say agencies were giving you briefings? Then take their names.”
The minister recalled that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif appeared in courts even when his wife was on her deathbed. “Even after being removed, he talked about respecting the vote.
“He attended hearings every day but never said that he would set the country on fire or break it into pieces,” she said. “He, instead, said that the institutions should stay out of politics.”
Aurangzeb alleged that after the no-confidence vote, Imran “begged the neutrals to protect him”.
“But when the institutions played the role of neutrals, which is a line sketched by the Constitution […] you are now, once again, asking them to help you and save your false politics”.
Responding to the PTI’s claims of the government crackdown against journalists, she said that the largest number of violations took place in Imran’s tenure.
“But now you will have to answer. You keep mentioning ‘Mr X’ and ‘Mr Y’ […] take their names,” the minister pushed. “We want answers, not allegations. This drama needs to come to an end now.
“Give answers on the foreign funding […] nothing can divert attention from this now. You will have to give answers, no matter how far you go,” she added.