LAHORE: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Senator Sirajul Haq announced on Sunday that his party would hold sit-ins across Punjab in an effort to force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to present himself and his family members for accountability in the Panama Papers scandal.
The party would organise the first sit-in in Gujranwala in the second week of next month, followed by similar protests in the divisional headquarters of the province, he said.
Speaking at a big rally on the Wahdat Road, he described the Panamagate as “a tale of corruption carrying the names of prime minister’s children”.
“How can the prime minster be declared innocent in this scandal?” he asked.
Mr Haq regretted that the government had wasted six months but neither set up a judicial commission nor initiated any inquiry into the scandal.
“I once again urge the prime minister to give up intransigence on the matter and get ready for accountability,” he said.
Referring to a news report about a high-level meeting on security, the Jamaat chief demanded that the “real culprit behind the leak” should be identified and brought to book.
“The decision to sack federal information minister Pervaiz Rashid for leaking the information is not acceptable,” he said, adding that Mr Rashid simply didn’t have the guts to take such a drastic step.
Stating that a tug of war was going on in the federal capital, the senator said the key to resolving the issue was now with the Supreme Court.
He said the apex court should not resort to the doctrine of necessity and instead take a bold decision because the nation was “standing with the court”.
Mr Haq urged the court to hear the Panama Papers case on a day-to-day basis so that all those who had “swallowed” the hard-earned money of the masses could be brought to book.
“Another NRO will never be allowed,” he asserted.
The Jamaat chief said that some elements wanted to drag the armed forces into politics in the current situation in order to serve their selfish interests, but they were neither sincere with the country nor the military.
The armed forces were already engaged on the country’s eastern and western borders besides fighting a war against terrorism inside the country. Therefore, he said, the nation would not allow the armed forces to be used for any other objective except the defence of the country.
He said the present or the past rulers should not be under the misconception that they would be allowed to digest the nation’s money “they had plundered over the years”.
Every penny would be accounted for and the plunderers would have to pay the price, he said. “Every penny from the billions of rupees collected under the Qarz Utaro Mulk Sanwaro, Iqra Surcharge, and Friends of Pakistan schemes would be accounted for.”
Stating that the “coterie of the corrupt had taken all state institutions hostage”, he said that had the Election Commission of Pakistan implemented Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, the owners of off-shore companies, members of the ‘sugar mafia’ and those owning properties in London and Dubai would not have returned to the assemblies.
“If Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari bring back the wealth they have stashed abroad, all the economic problems of the country will be solved,” he said.
The JI leader also condemned terrorist attacks in Quetta, Mardan, Karachi and other parts of the country.
Speaking on the occasion, JI Secretary General Liaquat Baloch said the party would not rest until the “serpents of corruption were crushed”.
Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2016