• Federal govt to take legal action against PTI chief, other leaders in wake of military demand for action over ‘false statements’
• Shehbaz says will quit politics if Imran can prove he was connected with assassination bid
• Asks CJP to task same commission to probe Arshad Sharif’s killing
LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has sought constitution of a ‘full court commission’ of the apex court to probe into Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s allegations that the premier, interior minister and a senior military officer are responsible for the assassination bid on him in Wazirabad.
Later, in a high-level meeting presided over by the PM, it was decided that in light of the Friday night statement of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the federal government would initiate legal action against Imran Khan and other PTI leaders for issuing false statements against the state and its institutions. The PM had earlier in the day hinted at taking such action.
Hours after Mr Khan had addressed the nation from the hospital on Friday and once again accused the PM, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and a senior intelligence agency officer of hatching a conspiracy to eliminate him, the ISPR had issued a strongly worded statement, rejecting the “baseless and irresponsible” allegations by the PTI chairman against the military.
It had also called on the government to investigate the matter and initiate legal action against those “responsible for defamation and making false accusations against the institution and its officials without any evidence whatsoever”.
“You are a liar, selfish, callous and a certified thief. Bring forth the proof of our involvement in any conspiracy to assassinate you. If you prove even a distant link with me, I will quit politics. Keeping in view such false and baseless allegations, I request the Supreme Court chief justice to constitute a full court commission to probe into the PTI chief’s allegations,” the premier told journalists at a press conference here on Saturday evening.
“I will soon write to you (the CJP) in this regard, and if my request is not entertained, questions related to the credibility of inquiries into this incident will keep rising,” feared Mr Sharif, flanked by Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and his special assistant Malik Ahmad Khan.
While calling all apex court judges equally competent to inquire into such cases, Mr Sharif requested the CJP to have the same fullcourt commission also probe into the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya.
To a question about the ISPR statement, the prime minister said the government would take action soon. “We are taking action over such baseless and false allegations. We will do our duty; we have called a meeting on this issue,” he announced.
Lashing out at former PM Khan, he said the incumbent coalition government was formed under a constitutional process, while Imran Khan was the person who was rendered unprecedented support by the establishment. But the PTI chief displayed extreme selfishness by defaming the same organisation after the success of the no-confidence move in parliament.
“Imran Niazi, your social media brigade didn’t even spare an honest, hardworking and trustworthy Quetta corps commander who lost his life along with other officers for this country,” he deplored.
Refuting the PTI chief’s repeated allegations against the Sharif family, the military and others, PM Sharif had various video clips of Mr Khan played to ‘prove’ him a liar and selfish who didn’t even spare close friends, including Aleem Khan.
He further claimed the PTI chief wanted to trigger a civil war in the country through politics of sit-ins, violent protests, lies, and defaming. He also said Mr Khan wanted to get a first information report (FIR) of his choice lodged against him (the PM), the interior minister and a senior army officer in the Wazirabad incident, adding if he didn’t provide any proof, the judiciary should take action.
“If the judiciary keeps mum, it will be unfair to the country,” he maintained.
The prime minister said when the PTI chairman was in power, he oppressed the then opposition by throwing everyone in jail. “You got Rana Sanaullah arrested in a false case of narcotics. You detained Tayyaba Gull,” he remarked.
He also cast doubts over the medical examination of Mr Khan, questioning why the PTI chief didn’t get himself admitted to a state-run hospital for his medico-legal procedure and went to Shaukat Khanum Hospital instead.
Action against Imran
Later, in a high-level meeting presided over by PM Sharif on Saturday evening, the federal government decided to take action against all those involved in violence, damaging state-owned buildings, properties and leveling false and baseless allegations against state institutions.
It was decided that in light of the ISPR statement on Friday, the federal government would initiate legal action against PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other party leaders for making false statements against the state and its institutions. During the meeting, a committee comprising constitutional and legal experts was also constituted to send recommendations to the government regarding the legal action.
Moreover, action against PTI leaders and workers for torching the gate of the Governor House in Lahore and resorting to violence during protests in various cities would be taken separately.
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2022