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Panama case is not about corruption or kick-backs : Maryam Aurangzeb

Lahore : Minister of State Maryam Aurangzeb Thursday said that the Panama case was not about corruption or kick-backs but about the offshore companies,and the opposition was using it for political gains.

She said that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) on the Panama Papers had so far been probing private business of the Sharif family and had found no incriminating evidence to establish that the London flats were purchased through foreign funding or kick-backs.

Talking to the media outside the Supreme Court, she said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family had unswerving respect for the judiciary and its verdicts, and were confident of getting justice in the Panama case through rule of law and constitution.
She said that despite several reservations about the JIT, the
government did not create any hurdle in its proceedings and all those, who were summoned by it, including the Prime Minister, Punjab Chief Minister, Hussain Nawaz and Hassan Nawaz, appeared before it.

She said that the Prime Minister had no link with the Panama case and in spite of the fact that the names of Prime Minister and Shahbaz Sharif had not been mentioned in the Panama leaks, they both appeared before the JIT to uphold the law and the constitution. She said that the government had accepted the SC verdict in regards to leakage of Hussain Nawaz’s picture.

Maryam said that when the Panama Paper leaks surfaced, it was the Prime Minister who asked the Supreme Court to form a commission or JIT on the issue so that it could be resolved in a legal and constitutional way but the court was of the view that there was no legal provision in the constitution for that and, therefore, the issue should be taken to the parliament for proper legislation.

She said if the government had any plan to avoid the case, it would have not asked the SC to form a commission or JIT. The Prime Minister,she said, had made a pledge with the nation that an inquiry into the case would be held and completed, so his family members appeared before the JIT despite enjoying legal protection due to being non-resident Pakistanis.

The minister observed that earlier the petitions filed over the
Panama Leaks were turned down by the SC declaring them “frivolous” and later they were accepted under the same law.

She criticized the opponents who were asking the Prime Minister to resign, saying why should he resign when his name was not included in
the Panama leaks? She said that the opponents were telling lies
consistently for last 15 months to mislead the public, claiming that
the PTI submitted wrong and distorted facts about the Panama Papers case before the Supreme Court.

Referring to Imran Khan’s rhetoric about accountability, she said that he lectured others about it but had been telling lies about funding of his party by Jews and Indians and seeking adjournment of the case by ECP for an indefinite period.

She questioned as to why the PTI was so reluctant to submit reply to the ECP and the Supreme Court in the foreign funding and disqualification cases.

The minister wondered how long Imran Khan would do politics of lies and hoodwinking the public as the PTI government had failed to deliver in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Ehtsab Commission had been made dysfunctional.

The minister regretted that the PTI was in the habit of boycotting the media channels, which were not toeing and pursing its stance or policy.

Answering a question, the minister said all corrupt politicians, facing corruption references, were joining the PTI due to their like-mindedness. She said the PTI had invariably failed to produce evidence to prove its allegations and requested the Supreme Court to take notice of the baseless allegations being levelled by Imran Khan and his accomplices against state institutions.

Replying to a question, she said it went to the credit of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government that it held the last national population census 19 years back, and had again fulfilled this national  obligation through the recent and the just concluded census. She said that all the data and details of the Census would be handed over to the ECP after their compilation.

Commenting on the Faisalabad Agriculture University incident in which workers of Din TV were attacked, she said there was an issue between students and the university management and a thorough investigation into the episode was being held by the provincial government. She said that in the light of this report stern action would be taken against all those who were responsible for it.

The minister condemning the incident said that the government strongly believed in freedom of expression and speech and would not tolerate any curbs on media.

Reacting to the attempt by the female workers of PTI and its lawyers to forcibly take over the rostrum from her which was forestalled by the police, the minister said that the PTI was a party of goons and gangsters. She said that rowdiness, tumult, baton and creation of scenes were the pillars of the PTI’s politics that was why it could not tolerate even a few words against their view point and the political creed.

She said the PTI could not frighten anyone by shouting. The entire
nation had now seen live on TV channels how PTI workers behaved and tried to foist their view point on others. She said no one would be allowed to breach anyone’s right, and people should know who crossed the Rubican.

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