ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has accused Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of abusing his power by directing missions abroad to promote his image and of his family in the wake of the Panamagate case.
The party said this is tantamount to personal projection at cost of state resources to gain political mileage on the pretext of official business.
The PTI has claimed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently written a letter to missions and embassies, instructing them to project and defend the prime minister in the aftermath of Supreme Court judgment in the Panamagate case.
Through a letter written by PTI leader Andleeb Abbas to the principal secretary to the PM secretariat, she had sought certified information pertaining to actual instructions given to ambassadors in this regard under the Freedom of Information Ordinance-2002, and Article 19-A of the Constitution.
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The letter written by the foreign affairs ministry has recently been circulated on social media and according to its contents a policy guideline had been given to missions and embassies where they were instructed on how they would defend the prime minister in front of the international community following the announcement of the verdict.
Missions abroad have been instructed to let the international community know that the Panamagate saga was indeed part of a political campaign of Sharifs’ political foes rather than something factual.
“The Foreign Office, missions and embassies serve national interest within Pakistan and overseas. The prime minister has conducted serious breach of public trust by abusing these offices for protecting the Sharif family,” Abbas wrote.
She said such directions passed by the prime minister reinforce the Panamagate judgment that he was not sincere and honest to the people of Pakistan.
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Abbas has sought information on four counts: Pakistan has 67 embassies and 60 consulates worldwide, and foreign affairs division budget has skyrocketed to Rs500 million in 2016-17 against Rs30 million in 2015-16. Why has this 1,600% increase taken place in one year? Is it to promote the PM and the Sharif family’s interests?
She said recently Rs822 million had been spent by the Foreign Office on the purchase of 35 ‘high security vehicles’, and why were Rs107 million given to the Capital Development Authority for the construction of Kazakhstan’s embassy in Islamabad?
Since the amount was not approved by parliament, those allocations amount to corruption of public money and violation of the constitution.
“It asks the embassies to defend the PM by saying that Panama leaks are a conspiracy of opposition parties. The international community knows that ICIJ published the Sharif family’s details of stolen money and thus by writing this letter the PM has made Pakistan a laughing stock in the eyes of international community.”
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She said the prime minister in the letter gave instructions to project him personally as a lone warrior against terrorism.
“This is completely undermining the role of the armed forces and the political parties who have been major players in this fight in the provinces. This is tantamount to a defamation campaign on the armed forces and Pakistan,” she added.
She said the letter was another policy disaster at a very heavy financial cost to taxpayers and very damaging for the image of Pakistan, claiming that is a huge conflict of interest and thus we demand that the PM resigns till the JIT gives its verdict as this letter clearly shows that the PM will misuse his office and taxpayers money to save himself using all means fair and foul.
She has sought answers from the PM secretariat within 21 days.
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