ISLAMABAD: Amid thumping of desks by his cabinet members, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday categorically rejected the opposition’s demand for his resignation, saying he was brought into power by the people, and only people had the mandate to remove him.
“The decisions as to who will be in power are done on heavens, while people make the decisions on ground. Should I resign on the demand of anti-democracy forces? Why should I resign, on what basis?” Nawaz said while chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet at the PM Office.
The meeting was the first sitting of the federal cabinet after the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigating into PM and his children’s wealth and properties unveiled its damning report. The earlier meetings included informal sittings with legal wizards of the party and his closest aides.
The JIT report submitted before the Supreme Court and subsequently made public on July 10 gave impetus to the demand of opposition parties in parliament for the PM’s resignation.
Nawaz said the ‘controversial’ JIT had submitted its report “based on accusations and conjecture, and is reflective of animosity and malice.”
He said the JIT report had not given even a hint of any corruption or financial misappropriation. “Our family has gained nothing from the politics, rather it has lost a lot,” he said, insisting that he was not involved incorruption of even a single penny in the past 32 years.
He said the JIT did not even question him about any such corruption.
The PM said he and his family appeared before the JIT without any hesitation, adding that if there was a shred of evidence of corruption against them then that needed to be raised but there was none.
“We have not committed any corruption in any project. If there is any evidence against me or [Punjab Chief Minister] Shehbaz Sharif, then present them,” he said.
He said the government had his fingers on the pulse of the masses and scientific polls showed that the vast majority of the people of Pakistan were still with him.
“Those who have been trying to create disruption in the country in the name of rigging, corruption, Panama Papers, or [on any] other pretext would remain unsuccessful,” he said in a veiled reference to his arch rival Imran Khan’s PTI.
“Pakistan has paid a heavy price for such antics in the past and now this trend should end,” he said, adding that the PML-N got an overall lead in votes over those who were seeking his resignation
Nawaz said his government had accomplished in four years which could not be done in the past two decades. “We will not let an era of darkness return to our industries and villages,” he said.
“All these secrets will see the light of the day at an appropriate time,” he said and added that time was not far. “We will not let the pace of progress and development derail,” he vowed.
According to sources, the PM discussed the JIT findings as well as the opposition’s demand for his resignation, but the federal ministers reposed confidence in him.
After seeking unwavering support from his federal cabinet, the PM is also due to head the parliamentary committee meeting of his party on Friday where he is expected to garner more support from his party members from all over the country.
Name for airport
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced setting up a committee to propose names for the new Islamabad international airport.
The federal cabinet gave approval of the committee that would comprise Minister for Ports and Shipping Hasil Bazenjo, Adviser on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddique, State Minister for Information Maryam Aurangzeb and Special Assistant to PM on Law Barrister Zafarullah.
Quetta attack condemned
Expressing deep grief and sorrow over the loss of precious lives in Thursday’s attack in Quetta, the PM prayed for the departed souls to rest in eternal peace. He also directed best possible medical treatment to the injured and prayed for their swift recovery.
The meeting also approved a broad-based agenda including cooperation with other countries in air services, climate change, defence and financial intelligence.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan contradicted a news report in which a media outlet had quoted him as commending the PM during the meeting and saying that transparency was a cornerstone of the government and that the prime minister would be exonerated.
Nisar termed the news ‘baseless’ and result of unprofessional journalism.
[WITH ADDIPTIONAL INPUT FROM APP]