LAHORE: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC), seeking disqualification of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif over what they called the corruption charges surfacing in the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report.
The JIT report, submitted in the Supreme Court last Monday, levelled serious allegations against the Punjab chief minister, besides other members of the ruling family, said PTI senior leader Babar Awan during a presser.
After the allegations, Shehbaz had lost credibility and the right to remain in public office, he maintained.
“Today is a historic day in Punjab’s history as the PTI has moved the court on behalf of the people of Pakistan, seeking Punjab chief minister’s disqualification,” the PTI leader said. “It will be impossible for the Sharif brothers to come clean in the Panamagate case.”
He further said that the “126-day sit-in, 126-day court hearings and 85-day JIT probe” were part of the PTI struggle to root out corruption from the country. “The country will soon see the dawn of a new Pakistan,” he added.
Awan highlighted that 35 persons had been accused in the JIT’s final report. He said the court had already awarded decree against the Sharif brothers in its March 1999 decision, adding that the case was settled after $34 million worth of payments were made, and the Punjab chief minister was also involved in the deal.
He emphasised that the Panamagate was not created by PTI chief Imran Khan, rather it was the result of the Sharif brothers’ corruption and money-laundering.
He said the party had earlier submitted a disqualification reference in the Punjab Assembly but the government escaped by stating that the sugar mills case was sub judice, adding that the Punjab Assembly speaker had no other choice but to side with the PML-N as he was elected on its ticket.
Awan said the PTI had informed the Lahore High Court about it, upon which the court had told the party to bring back the case if it was not taken up by the speaker. Now after the Panamagate JIT report, everything had become clear and Shehbaz could not escape this time, he added.
Awan urged the rulers to reveal the names of those scheming against the government.
He said three officers of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) had accepted that their chairman, Zafar Hijazi, had pressured them into tampering with the official record. Criminal proceedings, he added, should be initiated against Hijazi who should also reveal the name of the person who forced him to tamper with the official record.
Senior PTI leader Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar also demanded immediate arrest of Hijazi. He said the Punjab chief minister should immediately step down after a ‘clear proof’ of corruption had surfaced.