Opposition parties throw full weight behind JIT

Published: July 17, 2017
Imran Khan. PHOTO: FILE

Imran Khan. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD/SUKKUR: The two main opposition parties have dismissed the unrelenting criticism of the Joint Investigation Team by government ministers, saying that the JIT report on the Sharif family’s offshore businesses is ‘unbiased and based on facts’.

Government ministers have rejected the 256-page JIT report as a ‘piece of trash’ while publicly questioning the impartiality of its members. The government plans to challenge the panel’s damning findings in the Supreme Court on Monday (today).

However, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the second largest party which has been consistently pursuing corruption charges against the ruling family, accuses Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of maligning and corrupting state institutions for personal gains.

Opposition won’t relent on resignation demand

“After the JIT, the Sharif mafia will target the judiciary and the army,” PTI Chairman Imran Khan predicted, adding that the JIT has succeeded in conducting ‘impartial investigation’ because of Supreme Court’s supervision.

“These two institutions are not under the direct influence of the Sharif mafia,” Imran said while addressing a charged crowd at PTI Central Punjab Workers’ Convention on Sunday.

The PML-N will make all possible attempts in coming days to malign the Supreme Court and the army, he foretold. “If you think you will attack our Supreme Court and the army to hide your corruption and money-laundering, then you’re living in fool’s paradise,” he warned the ruling party.

Opposition unites to take fight to Sharifs

Imran threatened to unleash a sea of people if the ‘Sharif mafia’ tried to obstruct justice in the Panamagate case. “Soon, I will invite you either to celebrate or to uphold justice,” he told his supporters. “I will unleash a sea of people never witnessed in the history of Pakistan before to oust Sharif from office.”

Let alone the Qatari prince, not even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor US President Donald Trump nor any other international actor could save Sharif from accountability, he said.

“This time around, Sharif will not be allowed to fly to Jeddah; rather, he will be thrown in [Rawalpindi’s] Adiala jail, as it is the only place available for him in Pakistan,” Imran said, adding that the nation was closely observing the ‘Sharif mafia and its tactics’.

Chorus calling for PM’s resignation grows louder

Praising the JIT for their report, the PTI chairman said that even he had not imagined that the probe panel would work so efficiently and unearth hidden details of Sharifs’ corruption.

“My crusade is not against a political party or a political leader, but against the political mafia of Pakistan. Whatever the Sharifs are doing in the name of democracy is not politics,” he said.

He said instead of answering four major allegations proven against the Sharif family in the JIT report, the entire PML-N was busy declaring the ongoing accountability process as a conspiracy. “They [PML-N] believe that individuals and institutions supporting them in their corruption are good, and whoever tries to expose them is a conspirator,” he added.

PPP ratchets up pressure on PM to stand aside

The Sharif family has destroyed state institutions and the very fabric of the Pakistani society, which in real words, is a conspiracy against Pakistan and its people. “They [Sharifs] are traitors. They took commissions and sent money to their children’s offshore firms and piled up their assets,” he said.

Over in Sukkur, Khursheed Shah, the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, also lent his support to the JIT and criticised the government for making its report controversial.

“The JIT report is unbiased and based on facts,” said Shah, who represents the PPP, the largest opposition party. “It is the agenda of the Sharifs to make the JIT report controversial,” he told journalists. “The prime minister is discrediting the views of other parties on the JIT report.”

Punjab opposition joins hands in bid to oust PM

According to Shah, the government would try to buy time from the Supreme Court on the JIT report. “They cannot linger the matter for too long. In my opinion, the decision will come in 8-10 days,” he said. “Nobody can influence the Supreme Court decision.”

Shah reiterated his party’s demand for Premier Sharif to step aside. “Sharif must resign, but if he doesn’t his party would suffer a huge setback,” he said. “The prime minister must resign for the greater benefit of the people, the country and his own party.”

Shah doesn’t believe the security establishment is involved in any way in the Panamagate case. “I don’t see the establishment’s involvement in this matter,” he added.

“Nawaz Sharif had himself offered to resign if evidence was brought forth against him. But now he is reluctant to step down because he doesn’t want to part with power.”

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