Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has come out hard against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for trying to blackmail the opposition with corruption charges for their criticism of the Sharif family over the Panama Papers leaks.
Addressing a press conference at the PTI secretariat in Lahore on Wednesday, Imran expressed his disappointment at how Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan accused Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah of corruption.
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“It is your (government’s) responsibility to apprehend them (corrupt politicians) instead of blackmailing (opposition members),” Imran said while responding to Nisar’s press conference held earlier in the day. “This is what the opposition does, not the government.” The PTI chief said that if the government has evidence of corruption, it should act instead of resorting to blackmail.
Imran also dismissed Nisar’s stance that the PM was not answerable over the leaks which had revealed that three of Nawaz’s children owned offshore companies.
“Don’t disgrace yourself by defending the corruption of your leaders,” the PTI chief said as he claimed that Nawaz was involved in tax evasion and corruption, breaking laws of the country and demanded a clarification from the prime minister.
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“They (corrupt politicians) come into power, make money, steal tax, invest abroad and then use the stolen money to contest in elections” he said alleging that the same money was used to ‘buy’ the election commission as well as judges to rig the elections and reiterated his demand for a judicial commission headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan.
He also criticised protests by PML-N supporters outside his former wife Jemima Goldsmith’s house in England.
“What will you demand from this protest outside her house?” he mocked.
Responding to threats from the PML-N to march onto Bani Gala if the PTI marched to Raiwind, Imran brushed it aside by stating, “they are only blackmailing us”.
Appreciating comments of Pakistan Peoples Party’s Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, Imran hinted at working with other stakeholders over his Raiwind protest. He urged citizens to join his movement arguing that it was the collective responsibility of the nation to demand accountability adding that he did not want to make the Raiwind protest a ‘PTI show’ only.
'Will march towards Raiwind if Panama Papers revelations not probed independently'
Imran held a high level meeting with parliamentary and provincial leaders of the PTI to formalise a strategy for the party’s 20th Foundation Day. Deliberations were also held regarding activities ahead of the Raiwind march as well as the strategy for the protest movement.
He urged party workers to gather in Islamabad on April 24. Earlier, while speaking at an event in Lahore, Imran said allegations being levelled against the charity-run Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital by PML-N were only attempts to hide their own corruption.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2016.