ISLAMABAD: Welcoming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s challenge to file a defamation suit, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan publicly said he would reveal the names of the individuals who offered him Rs10 billion on behalf of the Sharif family to back off from the Panamagate case only in court.
He was addressing a public gathering at the Parade Ground on Friday. Workers who converged at the Parade Ground came from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, who according to political analysts and newsmen, were well above 30,000.
While reiterating his stance that Premier Nawaz has lost moral authority to further rule the country, Khan asked the citizens to boycott him socially for refusing to step down after a clear-cut judgment against him in the Panamagate case.
It was the first of a series of scheduled public gatherings announced by the party as part of a ‘mass contact drive’ primarily aimed to propel the premier to step down so that the joint investigation team could conduct free and fair investigation against him and his family members in light of the apex court’s verdict.
“I will not only name the individual who conveyed me the offer here in Pakistan, but also the individual in Dubai who originally initiated the offer on behalf of the Sharif family,” Khan said while revealing that for successful deal-making the middle man was also assured a ‘reward’ of Rs2 billion.
While welcoming the government’s decision to initiate legal course of action against him for his statement he said if his claim was investigated names of more Sharif family members would come into the spotlight.
However, he attached a condition that he would reveal the names before the court after having assurance from the court that those individuals’ businesses would not be harmed by the government. He said right now he would not expose the names over fears the Sharif brothers would resort to unfair means against those individuals.
Khan strongly criticised Nawaz saying nobody had any doubt that you [Sharif] are in an old habit of offering lucrative bribes to manage things in your favour.
“We still remember Changa Manga where you did history’s worst horse-trading by offering money to parliament members against the late Benazir’s government. In the past you offered bribe to former army chief general (retd) Asif Nawaz and in Asghar Khan case, offered bribe to a former director general Inter-Services Intelligence,” Khan recounted. He said Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was on record that they [Sharifs] gave money to buy loyalties of some judges from Balochistan.
“You have been giving bribes for the past 30 years. It’s nothing new. It’s your history that everyone knows,” Khan said adding Nawaz was a proven liar and recently Supreme Court had stamped that fact.
Almost half an hour before Khan’s speech to a charged crowd light rain started which was cherished by the crowd.
The gathering was undoubtedly much bigger in size than the protest on November 2, 2016 in the same venue, which was called off after Supreme Court announced to take up the Panamagate case.
The management of the gathering had made exclusive arrangements for women participants by providing separate entry and exit gates and a highly fenced area for women only, but the number of female participants was clearly thin than the past public gatherings and rallies.
“In the coming days, I will visit the whole of Pakistan campaigning against you [Nawaz] and I will continue to do so until you announce your resignation,” Khan said while sharing details of the next public gatherings in Karachi, Nowshera, Abbotabad, Sialkot and other cities.
“You should go home, as a corruption case against you and your family members is pending before the court,” Khan said.
During Khan’s speech excerpts of judgments with Urdu translation were also telecast on a big screen at the venue.
He said now is the time to get rid of corruption and corrupt rulers. In Panamagate’s decision two judges had announced that PM was corrupt and a liar and three judges said he was a liar and further investigations were needed to prove him corrupt.
“After the decision’s announcement they distributed sweets. I pray to God to have mercy on them. It shows how low their moral values are,” he said.
He said through Dawn Leaks the nation had learned that Nawaz was also involved in maligning the country’s armed forces.
Earlier, addressing the gathering, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid said Nawaz has become a security risk for Pakistan and now people of Pakistan want to get rid of his corrupt leadership. He said the issue of appointment of General (retd) Raheel Sharif should have been discussed in parliament.
He appreciated the decision of some lawyers’ bodies saying if they take to the roads against the government then countrymen would welcome them with open arms. Rashid also questioned arrival of Indian business tycoon Sajjan Jindal to Pakistan and his links with the Sharif family. “I have not seen a more shameless person than Nawaz, who is now stopping release of Dawn Leaks report on purpose,” he said.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak, PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi, PTI General Secretary Jehangir Khan Tareen, MNA Asad Umar and others also addressed the gathering.
Khattak claimed that the performance of his province was better than that of Punjab.