ISLAMABAD, Aug 3: With a war of words hotting up between the PML-N and PTI, the cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan fired a spell of sizzling bouncers at former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday.
Addressing a press conference here, the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief put seemingly difficult questions to Mian Nawaz Sharif and asked him to respond to them personally, and not through any of his ‘servants’.
Mr Khan also presented details of what he termed his own assets and described the allegations levelled by the PML-N against him about misusing funds of his charity hospital as baseless.
Mr Khan came to the press conference armed with tax returns and documents of assets owned by Mr Sharif in Pakistan and abroad to substantiate his allegation that the PML-N chief had laundered money and cheated banks to build his family empire.
He accused Mr Sharif of committing massive corruption, money laundering and loan default and misusing the government money. He challenged him to a one-to-one debate at any forum, including a television channel.
The PTI chairman who was not accompanied by any senior leaders of his party, accused the PML-N chief of defaulting on bank loans of Rs6 billion. “Mian Nawaz Sharif borrowed this money, but never returned it.”
One of the serious allegations he levelled against the PML-N chief was that he was involved in $417 million corruption which had been revealed by western author Raymond Becker in his book.
Mr Khan showed documents, he said, contained details of his own income he had earned during his cricket commentary stints, etc, and details of expenditures and income tax returns. He said that members of his party’s steering committee would also place details of their assets on the website.
He challenged the Sharif brothers and PML-N stalwart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to follow suit and alleged that they were loan and tax defaulters.
Answering a question, Imran Khan said Chaudhry Nisar was not of his stature and, therefore, other leaders of his party would disclose how and where he had hidden his assets and why he was interested in the petroleum ministry in the PPP-led coalition government.
Mr Khan said he had never claimed that he was an angel but he had never betrayed his wife during the eight years of their marriage. He asked if Nawaz Sharif and Chaudhry Nisar were in a position to claim that they had been loyal to their wives and that Shahbaz Sharif had never betrayed his wife.
The 11 questions are: why did Nawaz Sharif not file a lawsuit against author Raymond Decker who in his book had accused him of being involved in $417 million corruption? How and from where did Nawaz get Rs6 billion to purchase his Mayfair apartments in England? How much money did he and members of his family transfer abroad on the night his government froze all foreign currency accounts in the country? What is the worth of overseas assets of the Sharif family and what are the sources of the income they used to purchase them?
How much money from the national exchequer was spent on Raiwind’s palatial infrastructure, including dual carriageway, grid station and many other facilities? Where did the fund ($150 million) for setting up a steel mill in Jeddah come from? Were his bank accounts not frozen after nuclear tests in Chaghai? Did he not stuff his vaults with kickbacks of billions of rupees in the award of Motorway project contract?
When it was pointed out that his tirade against PML-N leaders would benefit President Asif Zardari, the PTI chief said: “I have not ruled Punjab in coalition with Zardari for three years and never declared that I will side with Zardari even if he is abandoned by his PPP.”