Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq announced on Sunday plans to launch a country-wide campaign against corruption as he presented himself and his party for accountability. Addressing a sit-in, the JI chief said the people who looted public resources will either have to return the money or face accountability and imprisonment.
The JI chief called for a united stance of the opposition on the issue of the Panama Papers as he announced his own party’s plans to draw up terms of reference (ToRs) for the commission proposed to be formed under the Supreme Court’s chief justice that will probe the scandal.
“Some people are trying to divide the opposition, which is already confused over the issue. The opposition has not adopted a clear stance as some of its leaders are also named in the leaks,” he said.
The Panama Papers leaked earlier this month highlighted the offshore business of scores of Pakistanis, including the prime minister’s three children.
“But in the present scenario the opposition must stay united to rid the country of corrupt politicians,” he said, adding that his party rejected the ToRs announced by the government as they suited the rulers.
“[In the existing ToRs] there is no provision of an international investigation agency’s audit nor is a punishment mentioned for the culprit. The government had announced that the ToRs would be prepared after consultation with the opposition but it never took us onboard,” he said.
He said the JI only demanded a judicial commission under the chief justice, whom the JI intends to send its own ToRs to investigate the Panama leaks.
Criticising the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Haq said he had many expectations from NAB but it seemed to have compromised with the rulers. “We do not accept accountability [method] adopted by NAB, which gives clean chit to a looter of Rs1 billion after he pays only just Rs5 million,” he said.
He said corruption in judiciary and political system also needed to be redressed. Hitting out at the judiciary, Haq said it released the US spy Raymond Davis, who killed two Pakistani citizens but ordered execution of Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.
“We want reforms in the judicial system,” he added.
The JI chief said moral corruption also needed to be redressed. “A judicial commission is also needed to investigate moral corruption of politicians. Immoral politicians should be stopped from politics,” he said.
Referring to the recent by-election in Lodhran, he said each candidate spent more than Rs1 billion in his election campaign. “In the present electoral system, no honest and poor man can reach the assemblies and only the corrupt and the wealthy reach assemblies,” he added.
He said the JI wanted to build a Pakistan where no one would be deprived of food and home. He said he presented himself with his whole team for accountability. “The JI will fight against the corrupt people and corrupt system and ensure the rule of law,” he said.
Earlier, the party organised a sit-in at the city’s Mall Road against to ‘rid the country of corrupt rulers’. Hundreds of JI supporters participated in the sit-in, which continued for about two hours.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2016.