ISLAMABAD July 26 (APP): Minister of State for Information,
Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb Wednesday
said the JIT report had failed to find any corroborative
evidence in regard to the allegations of money laundering, tax
evasion and corruption levelled by the petitioners against the
By presenting himself and his family members for
accountability the Prime Minister had established an historic precedent,
notwithstanding the fact that he enjoyed constitutional immunity
and his sons, being non-resident Pakistanis doing business in
foreign countries, were also not under any legal obligation to
participate in a probe regarding their private business, she said
speaking in a current affairs programme of a private TV channel.
Answering a question she said the Prime Minister offered
himself for accountability to uphold the sanctity of law and the
constitution and now in future nobody would be able to escape
accountability. The controversy surrounding the Joint
Investigation Team (JIT) had been amply established by its own
report, she added.
The PML-N, she said, had reservations about the JIT right
from the beginning and those were also brought into the notice of
the Supreme Court and which were still intact.
Marriyum said that the contents of the report were not
an indictment against the Prime Minister as the entire report
talked in terms of probabilities rather than definite conclusions
or solid proofs. She said that the case still had to be decided
by the honourable judges, therefore it would be wrong to draw any
inferences from the JIT report.
The minister said that the JIT in spite of its best efforts
could not find even a single instance of corruption, or
kickbacks pertaining to the three tenures of Nawaz Sharif as
Prime Minister, two terms as Chief Minister of Punjab and one
stint as Finance Minister of the province.
She categorically said that the Prime Minister was not
linked to the Panama Papers case in any way and the JIT report had also
failed to find any concrete evidence to that effect.
To a question by the anchor as to whether she would like to
give credit to Imran Khan for triggering a process of
accountability in the country, the minister said how could any
credit be given to a person who himself was trying to
avoid accountability, had failed to provide money trail, was
showing utmost reluctance to account for foreign funding and
was challenging the jurisdiction of the ECP in that regard, besides
being an absconder from three courts.
The minister observed that the PTI had failed to make
any contribution in the parliament and the much hyped electoral
reforms and the only thing that it did was the setting up of a
circus in the country. She said that according to all the surveys
including Gallup, the PML-N was the largest and the
most popular party of the country.
The minister said that the Panama Papers case would be
decided in accordance with the law and the constitution.
To a query by the anchor as to what would be the line of
action of the PML-N in case the Prime Minister was disqualified
by the court, the minister said that it was not appropriate to make
assumptions in that regard and it should better be left to
the honourable judges.
However, she remarked that the PML-N was not considering
or thinking about alternatives as it was confident that the
Prime Minister would emerge unscathed from the Panama Papers
The minister said that protecting and upholding the
constitution was the duty of every Pakistani and the Prime Minister,
who had been mandated by the people, had greater responsibility in that
regard which he would fulfill at any cost.
Repudiating the suggestion by the interviewer that there was
a contradiction in the statement that the Prime Minister made in
the National Assembly and what he said later, the minister said that
the Prime Minister had made everything clear in the assembly
speech, saying that if required all the documents would be presented to
nullify the allegations and that was what had been done during
the trial in the Supreme Court and the probe by the JIT, where all
the available documents had been submitted.
To a question as to why the Prime Minister and his family
appeared before the JIT, if they had reservations about it,
Marriyum remarked that it was done in deference to the law. She
said that the other reason was that the opposition was using the
Panama Papers case as crutches to achieve their political objectives
and the government did not want to give them another opportunity to
denigrate it by staying away from the investigations.
The minister said that the Prime Minister had
shown remarkable poise and sangfroid in the face of the media
trial and had also not said anything against judiciary or any
other state institution.
She said that the government and all
the state institutions were on the same page in regard to
dealing with challenges confronting the country and that kind of
harmony and unity of thought never existed before.
The minister said that the systems were going through
the evolutionary process and so were the state institutions, but
if the people started hurling unfounded accusations at them
and ridiculing them then the country would not go forward.
To a query about the interior minister and the speculations
in the media, the minister remarked that the media had blown the
issue out of proportions, saying that Chaudhry Nisar was a very
senior and dedicated leader of the party and a close companion of
the Prime Minister.
She said that in the party meetings the members including
the interior minister expressed their views on the issues at
hand and it was astonishing as to as why only the views of
interior minister had been made the subject of a controversy.
She said that the interior minister had done a wonderful job
in dealing with corruption and his overall responsibilities.