LAHORE: As the political hullabaloo surrounding the Panama leaks case subsided with the Supreme Court justices going on winter vacations, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has decided to train its guns on the PM’s brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
In this regard Imran Khan’s party has finalised the draft of a reference to seek disqualification of the chief minister. This is a clever move given the fact that the main target of the PTI in the Panamagate case has been Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children.
“The PTI will soon submit the reference with the Punjab Assembly after getting a formal approval from the party’s high-ups,” Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Mian Mehmoodur Rashid said while addressing the media on Sunday.
He said even after spending billions of rupees from public money, the provincial government had failed to resume work on the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project.
“The government started the mega project in haste without [executing proper] planning and [getting] requisite approvals from the departments concerned. If it has decided to change the route alignment [of the project] now, the public exchequer will suffer huge losses as a result.”
“For how long will people continue to pay the price of rulers’ mistakes?” he questioned. The opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly pointed out that the whole city had been dug up in the name of development.
“Haphazard construction is causing great inconvenience to commuters,” he said and added, “Several projects that were started on the pretext of public welfare have failed to meet their completion deadline. Corruption in mega projects is unchecked. Public schools and hospitals are in a really bad shape owing to the negligence of the rulers.”
Rashid said though the ruling party had an army of ministers and local bodies chairmen, all of them were powerless to address public problems. “Crime rate is alarmingly high in the province. People are unsafe even in their homes, but the rulers are making claims of ‘good governance’.”
The opposition leader said the rulers in Punjab should learn from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government that was doing ‘historic’ development in the province. “The PTI has set new standards of development in K-P by completing decades-old projects.”
Rashid said now the time has come to make the rulers accountable. “The PTI has finalised a charge-sheet and prepared a reference to seek disqualification of the Punjab chief minister.”
He said the party would soon present the reference in the Punjab Assembly after getting a go-ahead from the party leadership.
“The PTI is effectively exposing corruption of the rulers and waging a struggle to get rid of them. The party is ready to win public confidence in the 2018 general elections”, he said.
Meanwhile, the PTI (central Punjab) President Abdul Aleem Khan, while addressing party worker, said the rulers should not celebrate the retirement of Chief Justice of Pakistan.
“Change of a chief justice cannot change facts. The nation is aware of the founders of corruption and horse-trading in Pakistan.”
He said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz could not come clean from the Panama scandal. “Rulers have to return the looted money to the nation.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2016.