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February 4, 2018

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Imran on NAB probe: ‘I am too dangerous, I am too bad’

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday parried a question about the initiation of inquiry by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over his use of two helicopters belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for personal use, by saying ‘I am too dangerous, I am too bad’. This strange response from Imran Khan came when a reporter asked him whether he will appear in the NAB in the reference.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan said on the social media that the provincial government has denied that he used copters for personal engagements. “The KP government has made clear there was never any personal or private use of the government helicopters by me. We welcome the NAB examining this issue and hope it will also look into the abuse of official planes, helicopters etc by Zardaris and Sharifs,” he said in a tweet. He also uploaded a related portion of the KP report on his Twitter account.

Turning his guns towards Sharifs, Imran wrote, “And one can only imagine the anguish of the Sharifs plus all other crooks who have money-laundered huge amounts of dollars abroad, leaving Pakistan with crushing debts.” In the UK, Unexplained Wealth Orders law, has now come into force and “TI has included Sharifs Avenfield apartments in demand for investigations into the corrupt leaders properties in the UK. So now will Nawaz Sharif see this as an international conspiracy against him and his children?”

In another development, the PTI parliamentary board will meet today (Sunday) to finalise names for the award of tickets for the upcoming Senate election amid indications that once again candidates from the moneyed class will be given preference over others.

Imran Khan has repeatedly announced to give party tickets for the Senate purely on merit. He has also conceded several times after the 2013 general elections that mistakes were made in awarding party tickets to certain candidates for the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.

Insiders told The News that a close relative of KP Minister Atif Khan as well as provincial Health Minister Shahram Khan Takarai, who himself is son of PTI Senator Liaqat Khan Tarakai, is most likely to get a ticket besides a leading businessman, who joined the party in 2015 and had submitted application for party ticket.

Another wealthy figure Khayal Zaman, who was elected PTI MNA from NA-16 (Hangu) in 2013, is also aspirant of representing the party in the Upper House of the Parliament. Yet another multi-billionaire Noor Alam Khan, a former MNA of the PPP from Peshawar, who became part of the PTI in May last year, has also applied, and reportedly, has bright chances of getting a nod of the parliamentary board.

“There is considerable outrage in the ranks of the PTI over the possible dolling out of the tickets to wealthy people, having hardly anything to do with the party politics,” said one of the applicants, who requested anonymity while talking to this correspondent. A party spokesperson, who did not wish to be identified here, said it is premature to say that the tickets would be given to candidates with strong financial background. He insisted the board would decide candidates purely on merit as per Imran’s declared policy.

PTI’s Mohsin Aziz, Nauman Wazir Khattak and Liaqat Tarakai are known businessmen, among the party’s seven senators in addition to billionaire Muhammad Azam Swati, who is to retire on March 11, but is sure to return to the House again. Currently, he is parliamentary leader of the party in the Senate.

Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of his own faction of the JUI, who is known for his peculiar religious background, is to also book his place in the Senate, enjoying complete support of KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak and of course Imran Khan.

One of the party’s spokespersons Faisal Javed has also applied for the Senate ticket and can get approval by the board. It is being speculated that the finalisation of candidates for the Senate election has the potential of pushing some party members to either lay dormant or quit the party.

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