LAHORE: Reacting to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Wednesday resolution in Punjab Assembly to condemn the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said people of Pakistan and apex court stand by the NAB.
“Whenever the Supreme Court or the accountability watchdog takes up a case related to the Sharif family’s corruption, they come under attack from the PML-N,” Khan said on Wednesday while speaking to media after having a meeting with the PTI parliamentarians in Punjab’s provincial capital.
“Sharif family acts like a mafia and tries to control all the institutions. The institutions that do not take dictation are from them are targeted. Earlier, the Pakistan Army and the apex court were under attack and now the NAB is being assaulted by the PML-N for taking up corruption cases against the Sharif family. Institutions are being destroyed in bid to save their (Sharifs) wealth,” he added.
Khan said no country can progress by construction of roads and bridges unless institutions are also empowered. He assured NAB that the people and the SC are standing by them and fully support its pursuit against the ruling family. “The NAB should take a full action against them,” he said.
In past nine year, Khan claimed, the Punjab government has spent Rs9 trillion.
“The people of Punjab should ask the ruling party where this money was spent on. Is this money utilised to make new schools, hospitals, water supply lines or to control law and order situation in the province? The truth is this that the money was misused on those expensive mega projects where huge kick-backs were involved,” he added.
He alleged that the Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif appointed front-men, like Ahad Cheema, to take kickbacks for him. The people of Punjab should hold Sharif accountable for misusing Rs9 tr, he urged.
PTI chief also accused the Sharif family of removing people from the scene who might testify against them. “Capital Construction and Engineering CEO Faisal Suhban went missing after exposing the corruption in the Multan Metro Bus project and naming Shehbaz in the scandal. Same was the case of Paragon Group Chairman Nadeem Zia, who was sent aboard after the recent scandal,” he added.
Later, addressing party workers at the PTI Chairman’s Secretariat, he said his party is launching a nation-wide contact campaign, which will last for two months. He urged the party workers to participate in the campaign with full commitment. “I will personally be involved in the campaign,” he added.
He also appreciated the PTI workers’ loyalty and commitment to the party and said he has not forgotten them. “Our mission is to free Pakistan from the mafia. After 21 years, the PTI’s struggle is against the mafias and not for politics,” he added.
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The PTI chief also expressed serious concerns over the lack of action by NAB on a petition filed by a PTI party activist, Usman Dar, seeking disqualification of Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for hiding his iqama [work permit] in his nomination papers.
The PTI chairman also directed Dar, who met with him on Wednesday in Bani Gala, to hold a meeting with the NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal requesting him to launch an inquiry into alleged corruption of Khawaja Asif.
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“Expressing concerns over lag in proceedings against the PTI’s petition against foreign minister, chairman PTI stated that it is beyond his understanding as why the anti-graft body is dragging its feet to launch an investigation, despite undeniable proofs against Asif,” said a statement issued by the PTI.
He further said Usman Dar can present proofs of banking transactions against Asif and his wife before the NAB. “The accountability of those who are looting the taxpayers' money is necessary. After the judiciary, the nation's hopes are now associated with the accountability institution,” Khan said adding his party hopes that NAB would soon take up legal proceedings against Khawaja Asif.