Maryam demands Panamagate-style JIT against PTI

PML-N VP says action should be taken against those identified in the scrutiny committee’s report


Rameez Khan January 06, 2022
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addressing a presser, on January 6, 2022. SCREENGRAB

LAHORE:

Senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz on Thursday demanded resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan and other Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders named in the foreign funding case for miss-declaration to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Maryam Nawaz, the PML-N vice president, also called for forming Panama papers-style joint investigation team (JIT) under the supervision of a monitoring judge of the Supreme Court, following the ECP report in the PTI foreign funding case.

Maryam Nawaz was speaking to the media after an important meeting of the PML-N Punjab Chapter, chaired by Party Quaid Nawaz Sharif via a video link. The meeting was also attended by PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz.

“Just making the foreign funding case report public is not enough. Action should be taken against those identified in the ECP report,” Maryam told reporters. “Without action against the culprits, this report would be meaningless, she added.

She appreciated the ECP for “braving the pressure of the sitting government and making the report public” but stressed that “whatever punishment the laws merits, should be handed down to Imran Khan and other PTI office-bearers”.

Maryam demanded the formation of a JIT same as the one was formed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif after the panama papers leak. “A JIT should be formed on this [ECP] report as well and the case should be tried on a day-to-day basis under the supervision of a Supreme Court judge,” she said.

On Tuesday, a report by the ECP scrutiny committee – investigating into the foreign funding of the PTI – unearthed that the party had concealed several accounts and around Rs310 million between 2008 and 2013 from the electoral body.

The report further disclosed that the party had received $44,000 from 88 foreign donors during this period, adding that the undisclosed accounts had been mentioned in a report by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).

Maryam said that the report carried mind-boggling facts about the PTI funding. But instead of replying to the allegation levelled in the ECP report, (Prime Minister) Imran Khan was “asking his spokespersons to project him as a brand”, she added.

Also read: PDM to use ‘audio leak’ stick to beat govt with

She claimed that out of the 26 PTI accounts, only 18 were used for receiving donations but only four were declared to the ECP. “Imran is a brand, alright, but a brand of corruption, incompetence, ineptness, intrigue, conspiracy, inflation, destruction of economy and illegal foreign funding,” she charged.

She further claimed that the PTI received donations from USA, UAE, Australia, Canada and England. “Where this money came from and where the money was used, should be investigated,” she said. “Our law does not allow any party to receive foreign funding from foreign donners,” she added.

She repeated her party’s stance that Prime Minister Imran Khan should resign in view of the report and action should be taken against this party. She added that if the top PML-N leaders, including her, could remain in jail then “there should be no sacred cows”.

Responding to a question, the PML-N leader expressed her ignorance about the party’s talks “with none political” entities. “Deals are sought by those who have no roots in public. Look at the by-elections, people are calling for Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif to come back in power to fix the country.”

Maryam said that Nawaz Sharif would come back to the country, when it would be safe for him to return but stressed that the matter of his return would be decided by the party. She also did not gave a definite answer about any plans of the PML-N to organise an anti-government long march.

Also read: Govt blasts PML-N over another audio clip

At her media talk, the PML-N vice president was asked whether she would apologise for her remarks against two senior analysts in a leaked audio tape of her private telephonic conversation. However, she replied that those tapping her private conversation should apologised to her.

When pressed further on the issue and reminded that she herself held a press conference about a private conversation of the then Judge Arshad Malik to prove her and her father’s innocence, Maryam replied these were two entirely different matter and could not be combined.

Earlier, the meeting of the PML-N Punjab Chapter considered the overall political and economic situation in the country and discussed in detail the future course of action. The meeting expressed grave concern over the worst inflation, unemployment and a catastrophic economic situation in the country.

Terming the current situation a serious threat to Pakistan's survival and the national security, the meeting expressed alarm that there was a constant “economic slaughter of the people” by raising the prices of essential commodities under various names and by imposing direct and indirect taxes.

The meeting also expressed concern over the SBP autonomy bill. It noted that the present government failed to fulfil its obligations, while negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In this regard, the participants agreed that steps would be taken from the platform of the joint opposition.

The PML-N Leadership considered the report of the ECP scrutiny committee in the foreign funding case. They called on the ECP to take immediate action against Prime Minister Imran and other party leaders in the light of the facts stated in the reports on the foreign funding case.

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