CM rants about Imran for seeking his disqualification

CM Office has been issuing press releases almost daily criticising PTI chief

Rameez Khan July 21, 2017
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: APP

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehhaz Sharif seems to have taken a far more aggressive stance against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in the past seven days than the entirety of the Panama Papers scandal, after the party filed a writ petition seeking his disqualification, The Express Tribune has learnt.

For almost a week now, the CM Office has been issuing press releases almost daily against the PTI chief who had filed the petition in the Lahore High Court. The court declared the petition non-maintainable on Tuesday.

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An initial press release took an indirect approach, referring to Imran as ‘dharna group’ whereas a later one took a much direct approach for criticism. Incidentally, the CM Office has mostly kept mum over the ongoing Panama Papers case scandal that might result in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification by the Supreme Court.

According to a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz office-bearer, Shehbaz has taken a cautious approach and avoided any unnecessary reaction to the report filed by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) until Imran threatened to and then filed a disqualification reference against Shehbaz.

The insider said that since the JIT report was against the premier’s family, it was meaningless for Shehbaz to entangle himself in the issue. Therefore, the CM spoke only a handful of times throughout the entire Panamagate episode.

“The CM has somewhat distanced himself from Panamagate case and did not confront PTI on this issue as many believed he would,” he added.

The spokesperson for the Punjab government, Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, said that Shehbaz was not cognisant of the Panama Papers case which was against Nawaz’s children. Without being directly involved in the case, the CM has spoken about Panamagate case a few times, he said.

When asked about Punjab Minister for Law Rana Sanaullah’s statement in which he claimed that Shehbaz knew more about this case than any other member of his family, Malik said that it was more of a satirical remark than anything else. He added that the context of Sanaullah’s statement was that the CM would fully satisfy the JIT members in their queries about the issue to the best of his knowledge.

As his tirade against Imran Khan continues, CM Shehbaz again on Thursday lashed out at the PTI chief saying that his politics depended on lies and unfounded allegations.

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The CM said Imran was an expert in taking u-turns and back-pedalling from his statements and was “the founder of propaganda, lies and hypocrisy”.

“If saving billions of rupees of public money is a crime, then prosecute us for that,” Shehbaz said. “Despite a strong resentment by the opposition parties, we have continued serving the public.”

Shehbaz further said that people would hold the politician accountable for disrupting Pakistan’s progress. “The people of the country have rejected negative politics and want Pakistan to excel. The intentions of the people who are involved in this political drama are not hidden from the nation,” he added.

The CM said the PTI chief has lost his credibility due to levelling baseless allegations on his opponents and instead of doing public service in his province [Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa], “this politician is bent upon weakening the democratic system.”


Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2017.


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