PML-N not to accept JIT report sans authentication of Qatri prince’s evidence: Asif

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APP46-08 ISLAMABAD: July 08 - Federal Minister For Water & Power Khwaja Muhammad Asif addressing a press conference along with Federal Minister For Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique , Federal Minister For Planning, Development & Reform, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal and Federal Minister For Petroleum and Natural Resources, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. APP photo by Irfan Mahmood

ISLAMABAD, July 8 (APP): Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif on Saturday said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) would not accept the report of joint investigation team (JIT) in the Panama Papers case if the Qatari prince’s letter was not made part of investigation.
The JIT needed to get authenticated the letter of the former Qatri prime minister and make it part of the evidence before submitting its final report before the apex court, Khawaja Asif, flanked by other federal ministers Ahsan Iqbal, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Saad Rafique, told a press conference here.

Khawaja Asif said the JIT, after summoning the prime minister, his two sons, daughter, relatives and other personalities, was about to complete its report and without including the Qatari prince’s evidence it would be considered as “unjust and incomplete”.
“We are political people and have great respect for the Constitution and rule of law, but at the same time we as our right demand that all the proceedings of JIT must be made public.”
He said all the audio and video recordings of JIT proceedings should be televised so that people came to know what kind of questions were raised and what replies were made.
The minister said the companies in the Panama Paper case had been registered in a foreign country, but investigation regarding them was underway here in Pakistan.
“We are being asked about the money trial in Pakistan, but has anyone asked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan as to why his divorced wife was sending him money to buy properties?” he questioned.
Khawaja Asif said it was Imran Khan, who had invested the charity amount collected for a noble cause in the real estate in Musqat, France and Bangkok. He alleged that Imran Khan had also lost a huge charity amount in gambling, saying such negative acts of Imran Khan should also be probed.
The minister recalled that Nawaz Sharif was the person who led a long march along with his supporters from Lahore to Islamabad for the supremacy of judiciary, which was ultimately restored.

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan
Abbasi also expressed reservations on the JIt’s conduct, saying
that the PML-N did not flee from accountability if it was
conducted on the basis of solid evidence.
He said Nawaz Sharif became Punjab chief minister twice
and prime minister thrice, and during all his tenures he faced accountability and no charge of corruption in any development
project was proved against him.
“Nawaz Sharif is a person who presented himself for
accountability before the JIT despite having immunity,” Shahid
Khaqan said.
On the occasion, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq
said the PML-N had reservations on the constitution, composition
and selection of members of the JIT, which became controversial
since its inception. Though legal questions were also raised on
the formation of the JIT, but the prime minister decided to face
the probe as it was related to his family business, he added.
“The prime minister can get immunity, which he did not
avail and presented himself and other family members before the
JIT,” Saad Rafique maintained.
The minister said the PML-N, being the biggest political
party of the country and obtaining the highest number of votes
in 2013 elections, felt that efforts were on to snatch its mandate.
“The opponents are twisting remarks of the honuorable judges
and using the same against the government,” he said, adding that
since the JIT started its working a lot of questions had been
raised.
He alleged that Amir Aziz, a member of the JIT, was part
of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team, which was tasked
to probe the Sharif family during the tenure of General (Retd)
Pervez Musharraf while another member Bilal Rasool was a close
relative of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Mian
Azhar and his wife was a political figure, who had now changed
the party from PML-Q to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
Giving comments on the JIT’s proceedings, Saad Rafique
said the committee had accepted the PhotoLeak issue but
concealed the name of the person behind the leaking, while it
also behaved rudely with National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President
Saeed Ahmad and the prime minister’s cousin Tariq Shafi.
He demanded the parliament should also be given all respect
and regard as was required for other state institutions.
The minister asked under which law phones of the Prime
Minister House were taped, saying that keeping silence on the
matter would be inappropriate.
“We are not afraid of Ehtesab (accountability). Our objective
is not to indulge in disrespect. We are making efforts to ensure
prosperity and put the country on right path of development,” he
said and added that there must be equal law for all citizens.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said
gone were the days when backdoor was used to come to power. The
entire proceedings of the JIT wes property of the people of
Pakistan and they had the right to know its working.
Expressing thanks to the nation for giving mandate, Ahsan
Iqbal said after 2013 elections, the PML-N under the leadership
of Nawaz Sharif emerged victorious and at that time the national
exchequer was empty, there was 20 hours load-shedding while the
economy was unstable.
He said unfortunately PTI chief Imran Khan rather accepting
the 2013 election mandate, started hatching conspiracies against
the government, raising hue and cry and held a sit-in, creating
obstacles in way of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The signing of CPEC agreement with China was also delayed
because of Dharna (sit-in), he added.
The minister said Imran Khan held another sit-in during 2016
to thwart development process but the people of Pakistan, who wanted
progress in the country, managed to defeat his all conspiracies.
Ahsan Iqbal said despite all conspiracies, the PML-N
continued moving on the course of development and defeated opponents
in bye-elections, cantonment board elections, local bodies
elections, Gilgit-Baltistan elections and Azad Kashmir elections.
He said later the PTI leadership after facing defeat on all
fronts approached the apex court to achieve their political
motives. “The Supreme Court is a constitutional body and not
a political forum,” he added.
The minister also mentioned about the Pakistan Stock Exchange
Index whose points reached 50,000 from 13,500 points in 2013. But
due to current political scenario it had now declined to 46,000,
which caused billions of dollars losses.
Ahsan Iqbal said efforts of the present government were bearing
fruits and change could be witnessed in national economy, Pakistan
Railways performance, production of electricity and other domains.
He said Khawaja Asif was supervising power projects as
more than 10,000 MW additional electricity was being added to the
national gird, while billions of rupees were being saved in mega
projects through pursuing proactive revenue policies as “we consider
it as our national duty.”
The minister alleged that Imran Khan was giving refuge to
corrupt mafia and in that regard he (Imran) had even taken a lead
as compared to General Musharraf.
“Corruption vacates national kitty and disrupts the economic
growth. It cannot fill the exchequer,” he said.
The minister said international and local financial
institutions were acknowledging the policies and economic growth
the PML-N government had achieved during last few years.