Today's Paper | April 15, 2024

Updated 01 Sep, 2020 09:13pm

'Accountability will not affect CPEC': Maryam Nawaz asks Asim Bajwa to face allegations

PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz on Tuesday said that the process of accountability of one person would not affect the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and asked CPEC Chairman and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Infor­mation retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa to face the allegations against him.

Referring to a recently published investigative news report about alleged offshore properties and businesses of Bajwa and his close family members, Maryam said that the answer to questions raised by the report should not be that it was a "conspiracy against CPEC".

She was speaking to reporters after appearing at the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for the hearing of an appeal against her conviction, along with that of her father, Nawaz Sharif, and husband, Muhammad Safdar, in the Avenfield reference.

"If the founder of CPEC [Nawaz Sharif], who brought investment of $60 billion to Pakistan and was removed because of one iqamah and that did not affect the project, then the removal or addition of one person won't affect CPEC.

"It is the matter of an individual. Allegations have been made against him [Bajwa] and he should answer them."

Maryam said that the evidence against Bajwa was "huge" and called for him to clarify his position in front of the nation.

"If you have been appointed to a government post on taxpayers' money and allegations are made against you and evidence is presented, you should face them," she said.

"In our case, it was like making a mountain out of a molehill but still we served punishments thrice. If you have been accused and evidence has been brought, then you should not hesitate to face the law," she added.

"[Imran Khan] used to say that Nawaz has left the country which has weakened his narrative of accountability. Then he used to say that someone has gotten bail [or] someone has been acquitted so his narrative of accountability has weakened.

"I want to question Imran Khan and his government that today, when allegations have been made against Asim Saleem Bajwa with proof, why is his narrative of accountability sleeping? Is there no challenge to his narrative of accountability now?"

The PML-N vice president said that everyone was equal under the law and if she and her father could serve jail time for "false cases", then nobody else could be exempted either.

"If Nawaz Sharif can face the law and serve jail time, if his daughter who is not holding a government post can serve punishments twice, once for six months and the second time for five months and stay in a death cell, if Nawaz Sharif can reach the point of death in jail and surrender to the law then whether it is Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shehbaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Asim Saleem Bajwa, Mir Sahkilur Rehman, Qazi Faez Isa or Sarina Isa, they are equal in the eyes of the law," she said.

"If Qazi Faez Isa, while being a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, and Nawaz Sharif, a three-time former prime minister, [and] their wives and daughter while not being government employees can face the law then there is no exemption for anyone," she emphasised.

Responding to a question, Maryam said Nawaz would return to the country "the day his condition was out of danger".

She also spoke about the sacking two months ago of Arshad Malik, former judge of an accountability court who had convicted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia reference and acquitted him in the Flagship reference.

"His (Judge Arshad Malik's) confession was a black mark on justice which [the PTI government] tried to wash away," she said and demanded that the conviction in the reference he adjudicated be overturned.

"After this case, Imran Khan and his government should make preparations for the burial of their accountability narrative," she said.

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