July 09, 2017
PM, family recording be made public: PML-N
ISLAMABAD: The government Saturday demanded that the audio/video recording of testimonies given by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his family members before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) should be made public.
“The nation should know which questions were asked and what answers were given. We will bear all the expenses incurred in this regard,” said Defence Minister Khawaja Asif while addressing a joint press conference here along with three other federal ministers.
The three other federal ministers were Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
He said the JIT report would not be acceptable if the Qatari prince’s testimony was not made part of investigation.
The ministers said the JIT had been controversial from the very first day.
They said if the statement of former military dictator Pervez Musharraf could be recorded at his home then why the same could not be done in case of the Qatari prince.
“I want to tell on behalf of my party leadership that if the ex-prime minister of Qatar was not made part of investigation, the report will not be acceptable to us and it will be assumed as a compromised report not based on the norms of justice,” Asif said.
Asif said the armed forces had nothing to do with politics adding that there should not be separate laws for the whole country and the Sharif family.
He made fun of Imran Khan for receiving money from his wife. He accused Imran Khan of using Zakat for business.
He highlighted Nawaz Sharif’s role in restoring the superior court judges and said the world was conspiring to stop the nuclear Pakistan from becoming an economic power.
To a question, he said the roles of the armed forces and Supreme Court had been defined in the Constitution.
Khawaja Saad Rafique said the government had serious reservations about the inclusion of ISI and MI officials in the JIT but still the prime minister and his family appeared before it. He asked under which law the JIT was allowed to tape the phone calls of the Prime Minister’s House.
The PML-N leaders mentioned a report published in daily Jang claiming that the JIT was controlled by the intelligence agencies. He said no clarification or rejection was issued about the report.
They said justice could not be expected in the current circumstances adding that there were reports that a sensitive organisation was controlling the JIT.
Saad Rafique said the party had serious reservations about the presence of ‘controversial’ members in the JIT and questioned its neutrality.
He demanded respect for the government and asked who had permitted the JIT to tap phones.
“We cannot sense any justice prevailing in the current scenario”, he said.
Saad Rafiq said the PML-N had reservations about composition of the JIT, as two members of the probe body had anti-PML-N designs.
Ahsan Iqbal said those who were defeated in the 2013 elections were trying to use the shoulder of Supreme Court adding that the transactions made during the year 1963 were being made a basis of investigations.
”Gone are the days when backdoor was used to come to power,” he said.
Ahsan Iqbal said the stock market lost record points when PM Nawaz was summoned by the JIT.
He told the political opponents that the only way to gain power was through public votes rather than conspiring against the ruling authority.
He said the PML-N would not accept the JIT report without testimony of the Qatari prince adding that the questions of JIT during interrogation were irrelevant to the petition.
He said the people of Pakistan had given mandate to the PML-N and instead of accepting its mandate the top leader of PTI started hatching conspiracies against democracy and government.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the prime minister could have opted for indemnity but he appeared before the JIT and his daughter also appeared before it despite all reservations.
“The PML-N leadership is not afraid of any accountability,” he said.
He said the PML-N was not fleeing from accountability but it should be conducted on the basis of solid evidence.
Meanwhile, the government has made up its mind to challenge the JIT in the Supreme Court if it was not submitted to the appointed bench in open and the statement of Qatari prince was not recorded.
Sharif family will challenge the proceedings of the appointed bench.
The prince’s letter giving detailed clue about the money trail of Sharif family in the PanamaLeaks probe was produced in the Supreme Court in the course of hearing earlier.
Further consultations would be made tomorrow (Monday) soon after the submission of JIT report to the apex court’s three member bench. The government has also resolved to foil all conspiracies aimed at destabilizing the country by not budging to any pressure tactics in the wake of ongoing imbroglio created by the assertions made by certain quarters.
The high echelon informal consultative meeting of the federal ministers chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here at the Prime Minister House Saturday afternoon took the decision.
Some important federal ministers were also in attendance.
The meeting also decided to reach the masses about its position forthwith.
Sources said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had discussed strategy to deal with the upcoming political developments.
They said the government would be maintaining due esteem for the judiciary but it would contest for its legitimate rights for the sake of national interest.
Nawaz said the government would contest for its right to serve the people as it has brought about major improvement in various departments of life despite hurdles created by some so-called political adventurists on behalf of external signals.
It has also been decided to expand the circle of consultations with political stalwarts in days to come for evolving a long-term strategy to deal with the opponents who are hell-bent upon disrupting the pace of development in the country.
The sources said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told his cabinet that he would lead the campaign from the front to expose the elements who had been conspiring against the country in the garb of opposing the administration.