ISLAMABAD: As the government is weighing its options following the Joint Investigation Team’s damning report on the Sharif family’s offshore properties, top opposition parties have together turned up the heat on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down ‘for democracy’ besides considering requisitioning a National Assembly session.
Two major opposition parties in parliament — PPP and PTI — established contacts on Tuesday and agreed to push Sharif to resign and voice the same demand in parliament.
PTI’s senior parliamentarians Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Shireen Mazari and Shafqat Mehmood came to meet leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah in his chamber. This was the first contact between the two parties a day after a scathing JIT report was submitted in the Supreme Court having forensic records of the Sharif family's wealth.
Qureshi later told the media that the two parties have agreed to requisition a session of parliament to remind the premier of the promise he had made last year that he would step down if proven guilty after a probe [into the Panamagate case]. “This is the moment the PM should resign,” he added.
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Qureshi added that both the parties have agreed to contact other opposition parties in parliament on the issue, adding that he has spoken to Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leader Dr Farooq Sattar earlier and they would share their strategy in the National Assembly after consulting their party members.
“PPP’s stance is the same which PTI has and after JIT [Nawaz] Sharif has lost the moral and political standing and both of our parties demand immediate resignation of PM,” he said. For the continuation of democracy PM should step down as he promised the nation, Qureshi said.
Later Shah spoke to the media in his chamber and said “yesterday parliament was being threatened by a container [the sit-in] and now the attitude of the PM and his party is the threat.”
He said that history would remember him if he stepped down as he demanded PM’s immediate resignation.
“The attitude of the ruling party for the last four months is of serious concern as the government is challenging courts and defaming the army,” he said. “So if the PM wants parliament to remain intact and democracy to continue he should step down as the PML-N itself has now become a threat to democracy.”
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that Nawaz has lost all moral grounds to stay in power. Speaking to the media in Islamabad, Bilawal said that the PPP was considering all its options and he has tasked Khursheed Shah to approach heads of all other parties to take them on board regarding the matter.
Asked if PPP would go for street agitation if Premier Sharif refused to step down, Bilawal said his party was considering all options.
In response to a question, the PPP chairman said if Sharif resigns his cabinet has to go with him. “When I say the PM should resign, I mean his entire government should to go,” he added.
Later in the evening, PTI Chairman Imran Khan demanded immediate resignation of not only the PM but also of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar terming the latter prime launderer of Pakistan and Nawaz’s front men. “Nowhere in the world a money-launderer becomes the finance minister.”
“It has been proved that the whole family lied and tampered with the records including PM’s daughter Maryam Nawaz who turned out to be the beneficiary of an offshore company,” he told media outside his residence in Bani Gala.
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He lamented that those institutions which should have caught those involved in corruption were hand in gloves with the government. “For all of them Adyala jail is the destination as they have become billionaires and even their kids became billionaires overnight,” he said adding that instead of appearing on TV they should be ashamed of what they have done to the country.
Voicing similar demands, Farooq Sattar warned that the situation would worsen if ‘not handled wisely’.
Addressing a news conference at MQM-Pakistan’s makeshift headquarters in Bahadurabad on Tuesday, Sattar said the prime minister should resign to save the country from getting into ‘serious’ political crisis.
He stressed that the PML-N should immediately take a decision keeping in view that Sharif has now lost the moral ground to continue as the prime minister of the country.
“Tax evasion and money laundering are corruption,” he pointed out, referring to the content of the JIT report which stated that the Sharif family accumulated wealth beyond known sources of income. The report added that Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, prime minister’s sons, were used as proxies to build family assets.