ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday accused Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan of twisting the facts and outcome of the Supreme Court hearing on Panamagate before the media, warning him to be prepared to face several petitions that would be filed against him before the courts and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
The government also announced that the children of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would submit their statements regarding their three offshore companies, exposed by the Panama Papers, before the Supreme Court on Monday.
On Thursday, two members of the federal cabinet — Minister of State for Information Technology Anusha Rehman and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Human Rights Barrister Zafarullah Khan — joined PML-N MNA Daniyal Aziz for a press conference at the Press Information Department, the regular venue for such pressers.
PM didn’t want to raise any technicalities that would hamper SC proceedings, says Zafarullah Khan
“We submitted the prime minister’s reply before the SC today, saying that all allegations made against him are untrue; neither is Nawaz Sharif’s name in the Panama Papers, nor does he own any flat or offshore company,” Ms Rehman said.
“The prime minister has not mentioned his children as his dependents, while his income is declared every year before the ECP,” she added.
She said Hamid Khan, Imran Khan’s counsel, had admitted in the court that the PTI had no evidence against the prime minister and asked the court to order a detailed investigation into the matter.
Ms Rehman said Mr Khan falsely told the media after leaving the courtroom that the prime minister’s legal team had tried to confuse the SC by raising the issue of maintainability.
It was the office of the SC registrar which raised objections over the maintainability of these petitions, she added.
The minister said that when the legal team met the prime minister and asked whether the issue of maintainability should be raised, PM Sharif stopped them from doing so. She quoted the prime minister as saying: “Let the SC decide.”
Mr Zafarullah said PM Sharif did not want his legal team to invoke any technicality that could hamper the proceedings of the court.
He said the prime minister’s reply was prepared on 24-hour notice because the court ordered the prime minister to submit his reply on Nov 1.
He said that replies on behalf of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Mr Sharif’s son-in-law, retired Capt Mohammad Safdar, have also been presented on the petitions filed against them.
The adviser to the prime minister said Mr Khan had not been responding to petitions filed against him before the SC and the ECP for over a year now.
He said it was now Mr Khan’s turn to submit replies on several petitions against him concerning his own offshore firm.
“Nov 7 has been fixed as the hearing date of Imran Khan’s petitions and we request the SC to club them with the Panamagate case, so all these issues can be decided once and forever,” he said.
Daniyal Aziz said the Panama Papers were published on April 4, and the prime minister wrote to Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali within 20 days on April 22, asking him to form a commission to look into the scam.
Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2016