ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s sovereignty will be at risk if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif walks out clean from the probe into his family’s offshore assets, PTI chief Imran Khan said on Wednesday.
“Indeed, national sovereignty will be harmed if he [Sharif] survives and continues to be the prime minister in the wake of the investigation in Panamagate case,” Khan told reporters.
Khan was speaking at a press conference here mainly to respond to the media talk of the Prime Minister on Saturday last week where he criticised the Joint Investigation Team.
Rejecting the PM’s assertion that Pakistanis would not accept any adverse decision, he said: “The nation is eagerly awaiting a decision against you (Nawaz Sharif). I challenge you to call the countrymen out on the streets,” Khan claimed.
Answering a question about Marriyum Nawaz’s scheduled appearance before the JIT, Khan said: “The prime minister is trying to turn his children and deceased father, Mian Sharif, into scapegoats (to escape being snared) in Panamagate case.
“Nawaz Sharif is responsible for Marriyum’s appearance before the JIT. He stole the money, purchased properties abroad in his children’s names, and involved his deceased father in this matter. He has trapped his children and father to protect himself in the corruption probe,” Khan said.
The PTI chief said he had organized the press conference just to respond to the PM’s statements against the JIT.
“His (media) talk in London clearly shows that he [Sharif] is convinced that JIT will decide the case against him,” Khan said.
Khan said the PM claimed that the JIT had not answered his questions he posed when he appeared before the probe team.
“In what capacity you questioned JIT members?” Khan said, adding: “You appeared before the JIT as an ordinary accused who is facing charges of money laundering.”
He said the PM’s remarks against JIT amounted to criticising the apex court, as the JIT was an extension of the Supreme Court.
“People have already made up their minds and they are closely watching everything This is the beginning of a new era where law will equally be applicable on the poor and powerful,” Khan said, while predicting a decision “in favour of the general public in the Panamagate case”.
He also criticised Jang/Geo owner Mir Shakeelur Rehman, saying by protecting the PM in his crimes, he was an accomplice. “You [Rehman] are trying to help a criminal. Your job is unbiased reporting, not toeing an agenda just to secure your financial interests,” he said.
Khan condemned recent terrorist incidents in Bahawalpur, Parachinar, Quetta and Karachi.
He said the Parachinar incident was aimed at further dividing Pakistanis along sectarian lines.
“We should cope with international conspiracies aimed at fuelling infighting along sectarian lines,” he said.
“Instead of taking sides, Pakistan must play its due role to end this war,” he suggested.
He said it was necessary for Nawaz Sharif to visit Parachinar and Quetta just as he had visited Bahawalpur.