The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman announced on Saturday that he would move the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the prime minister’s media cell for ‘misusing public money’ to save the reputation of the Sharif family.
Imran Khan also pointed out that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz was running the media cell. Imran’s party, which has already served a legal notice on Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, formed a three-member committee to investigate and monitor the activities of the cell. The committee comprises Murad Saeed, Ali Muhammad Khan and Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
Panama leaks: ICIJ has not apologised to PM Nawaz, claims Imran
“Imran took the decision on the insistence of [PTI leader] Jahangir Tareen,” an insider told The Express Tribune. “The party is simply reacting to the allegations levelled against Tareen.”
Speaking to journalists before leaving for Lahore, Imran said the media cell was fixated on saving the reputation of just one family.
In doing so, the cell has started “levelling allegations against us which is called blackmailing, but we will not back down”, he added.
He claimed the Panama Papers revelations have proved that Premier Nawaz was guilty, but “there is no harm if a businessman owns offshore companies using legal channels”.
“If he [Nawaz] is not guilty, then he would have submitted all pertinent data, including tax returns and how money was sent abroad, in parliament just as British Prime Minister David Cameron has done,” he said. “Had he [Nawaz] done that, there would have been no need for staging rallies.”
Asked about the offshore company of Tareen, the PTI chairman said the two cases were different: the PM had not declared offshore companies in his statements of assets and liabilities before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Accountability should start with PM, says Imran
“I had sent the money abroad via the banking channel and paid taxes,” Tareen pitched in standing beside Imran.
“If you haven’t paid taxes, then it amounts to money laundering,” he added. “I have invested Rs70 billion in Pakistan and not invested a single penny abroad.”
The PTI chairman reiterated his party’s stance about the terms of reference (TORs) for a judicial commission that the government has formed to probe the Panama Papers revelations. “It is like asking the culprit to set the rules of game,” Imran said. “It also proves that Nawaz Sharif is doing all this to hide his corruption.”
Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali has threatened that he would send PML-N workers to Bani Gala, the residence of Imran, if PTI workers headed for the Sharif family residence in Raiwind, Lahore. Imran laughed off the threat. “I would not mind if he [Abid Sher Ali] comes to Bani Gala … we have good weather and he can enjoy himself here,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2016.