ISLAMABAD: Responding to allegations levelled by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan Thursday invited the PTI chief to face-off in “a great media debate” that would be chaired by neutral umpires.
Addressing a press conference at Punjab House, the Opposition leader — flanked by parliamentarians from the twin cities — said there was an option of jointly moving the Supreme Court for the constitution of a tribunal that would take a decision on the allegations from both sides on the basis of documents. However, he also voiced an alternative in the form of a media trial based on a debate that would be open to the public. He also offered Imran Khan to select five out of a list of 12 anchorpersons who could act as neutral umpires in the great debate.
At the same time, Nisar said that Imran Khan should come prepared with the documents to substantiate his allegations.
During the press conference Nisar affirmed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) would strongly resist and respond to any misadventures by the government against the superior judiciary, and said that instead of pointing fingers at the judiciary the government should instead focus on implementing its decisions.
Chaudhry Nisar also rejected a notion that there was a confrontation or standoff between Parliament and the Supreme Court: “If it is believed there is confrontation then it may be government’s tussle with the Supreme Court and not between Parliament and the apex court,” he said.
In response to a question about the reopening of cases against the Sharif family, Chaudhry Nisar maintained that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was acting on the instructions and wishes of President Asif Ali Zardari, Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik and businessman Malik Riaz. “Why was no case against the Sharif family was opened in the last four years,” he charged.
He also regretted that the members of the Sharif family, including Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s 85-year-old mother, were being asked to appear before the accountability court.
The Opposition leader maintained that after presenting these two options to Imran Khan to put an end to the blame game once and for all, he would not respond to allegations from the PTI quarters at any press conference: “Now Imran Khan should put up or shut up,” he said.
Regarding Imran Khan’s eleven questions for Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry Nisar said these questions were based on the contents of a book authored by Raymond Baker that appeared in 2001. He also reminded the PTI leader that the allegations against the Sharif family as stated in the book were based on interviews of Rehman Malik as mentioned in the book’s footnotes. The Opposition leader added that the author had written against President Zardari and army generals as well, but Imran Khan has conveniently skipped those allegations and had focussed his attention on the Sharif family instead.
He also questioned how a man like Imran Khan — who during his 30-year career had been involved in tax theft — could possibly claim to be able to end corruption in 90 days.Chaudhry Nisar insisted that Nawaz Sharif’s sons were operating businesses in the UK and Saudi Arabia only after having obtained loans from banks, which they were still paying off.
He further observed that instead of indulging in a blame game, Opposition parties ought to focus their energies on seeking a solution to the energy crisis.
Agencies add: Chaudhry Nisar Thursday challenged PTI chief Imran Khan to prove the charges against the Sharif brothers and other PML-N leaders in a court of law. Addressing a press conference, he said Imran Khan had purchased a piece of land in Sheikhupura for Rs7 million but had failed to mention this in his tax returns. He also claimed that though Imran said he had purchased his Islamabad residence after selling his flat in London, there was no proof of money being transferred to Islamabad from London.
“Imran says Nawaz Sharif should not hide behind his family, I would ask him not to hide behind the Shaukat Khanam Cancer Hospital,” the PML-N stalwart added. “Khan had said he will challenge me in the court but he is still keeping quiet,” Nisar said.