Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan stood against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's claim that the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) had issued an apology for including the premier's name in Panama Papers.
Addressing the media on Thursday in Lahore, the PTI chief said neither did ICIJ apologise for including the prime minister's name in Panama Papers nor has it removed it yet.
Nawaz Sharif will have to leave, says Imran
Imran also took to Twitter where he posted a statement of ICIJ director Gerard Ryle, saying, "The lie about ICIJ retracting on Sharif offshore accounts and apologising also stands exposed in ICIJ statement," Imran tweeted.
The lie abt ICIJ retracting on Sharif offshore accts & apologising also stands exposed in ICIJ statement pic.twitter.com/YfmlKCVZay— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 28, 2016
However, while the statement clearly states that the ICIJ has not apologised to PM Nawaz, it also states that the premier's name has been mentioned in the papers with reference to his children only.
"As I understand from reading the report, it is claiming that ICIJ has issued an apology and withdrawn all mention of the PM being in the data. Let me be clear. The PM's name is in the data, in reference to his children," Ryle said.
The ICIJ had reportedly acknowledged that the inclusion of the PM Nawaz's name in Panama Papers was a ‘journalistic mistake’, following which the federal cabinet condemned on Wednesday ‘baseless allegations’ levelled against the premier.
Cabinet slams 'smear campaign' against PM
A recent clarification issued by the ICIJ provided the government an excellent opportunity to go on offensive.
The ICIJ, the ministers agreed, had clarified that the prime minster had nothing to do with offshore companies and the PM’s name was being maligned in a false propaganda campaign.
Further, Imran posted a series of tweets on the microblogging website, accusing the Sharif family for allegedly starting a propaganda campaign against political opponents using tax money.
"To hide their own corruption, Sharifs have launched a massive propaganda campaign against political opponents funded by taxpayer money," he said.
To hide their own corruption, Sharifs have launched a massive propaganda campaign against political opponents funded by taxpayer money. 1/3— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 28, 2016
2/3 Pak has one of the lowest Human Dev Index in S Asia but govt spending public money to detract from Sharifs off shore accts/properties— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 28, 2016
The PTI chairman further questioned the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for not taking action against the premier and his family for using public money in an attempt to clear their image on the media and in front of the world.
Imran Khan sees Panama Papers as second chance to oust PM
3/3 Why are state institutions like NAB not taking note of this brazen misuse of public money by govt to defend corruption of Sharif family?— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 28, 2016
"The Sharifs need to realise this is Pakistan – a democracy, not a monarchy where they clan can rule with no accountability by the people," he tweeted.
Sharifs need to realise this is Pakistan - a democracy not a monarchy where the Sharif clan can rule with no accountability to the people.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 28, 2016
Why can't Sharif family use its own money - the billions stashed abroad - for their propaganda campaign instead of misusing public funds?— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 28, 2016
The cricketer-turned-politician accused the premier of launching a smear campaign against the former’s charitable Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital (SKMCH) in response to the accusations of acquiring illegal money in Panama leaks against the Sharif family.
Litany of lies by Sharifs & PMLN govt continue to get exposed. The lie targeting SKMT was exposed & the ppl of Pak condemned attack on SKMT— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) April 28, 2016