ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday said it would challenge in the Supreme Court a bill allowing deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif to take charge of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The approval of The Election Bill 2017 on Tuesday with a majority vote in the National Assembly has removed the last hurdle in the way of the three-time premier to get re-elected as head of the PML-N.
The bill allows a convicted person to lead a political party — a move that many political analysts say will give a new life to Sharif’s career as a politician.
The opposition party also decided to initiate yet another ‘public mobilisation campaign’ against what it termed “the illegal and above-the-Constitution act of the current regime”.
“Under the mass mobilisation plan, which is similar to one the party took on after the Panamagate scandal unearthed, the PTI will hold 13 public rallies in different cities of Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh during the next month,” a senior party leader said.
This was decided during a meeting of the senior party leadership held at Khan’s residence in Bani Gala.
Later, the PTI supremo once again reiterated his demand of early general elections, saying: “It’s inevitable and the only viable option to steer the country out of prevailing crises.”
“I am afraid they (PML-N) are fast heading towards a collision not for a greater cause but to save the corrupt ruling elite. The current situation demands fresh mandate through early elections,” Khan said.
The PTI chief announced that he planned to tour the country and inform people about the conspiracies the Sharifs had been hatching to weaken democracy.
Terming the Election Bill ‘save the corruption’ legislation, he said the PTI would oppose it at every available forum, adding the general public would be sensitised about the devastating impacts of it on democracy and the already fragile democratic norms in the country.
“Is it the responsibility of [PM] Khaqan Abbasi and his government to protect a corrupt and disqualified individual?” he asked, adding, “We cannot find even a simgle example of formulation of such a ‘draconian legislation’ (Election Bill) in any democracy across the world.
“Democracy means transparency but they (PML-N) are transforming democracy into dictatorship by elevating a disqualified person to lead a political party,” Khan said, adding that all ministers were busy in discrediting the country’s top state institutions, including the judiciary and the armed forces, just to save Nawaz Sharif’s skin.
Targeting Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Khan said he had staged a drama outside the federal judicial complex on Monday morning just to disgrace a premier state institution.
“His statement about ‘state within a state’ is similar to the narrative unfolded through the Dawn leaks and recently by the foreign minister through his statements in the US,” Khan added.
Bani Gala: Money Trail
On the occasion, Khan also informed the media that his ex-wife Jemima Goldsmith had found and forwarded the missing banking record of transactions amounting to £560,000 to him, which will be presented before the Supreme Court today (Tuesday) when it resumes hearing the case.
“Although the bank through which the transaction occurred in 2003 was closed down six years ago, Jemima had found the record sought by the apex court,” he said, adding he would present all the details to support the purchase of Rs6 million Bani Gala property.
He said his case was entirely different from the corruption cases the Sharif family had been facing.
“There is propaganda hatched by the PML-N and toed by some media groups… to create an impression as if my case is similar to the Sharif’s corruption cases,” he said, adding: “There is no comparison between the wealth earned through hard work and the one amassed through corruption.”
He said he earned money from abroad and brought it to Pakistan through legitimate channels, adding that on the other hand, Sharif had looted billions of rupees of public money and stashed it abroad in the name of his children.
“I was a cricketer, not a public office-holder, still I submitted complete details of my financial affairs spanning over the last four decades with all banking transactions and proofs,” he said.
Responding to a question about PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s nomination as the opposition leader, the PTI chief said, “Shah Mehmood is the best parliamentarian in the country. But currently the PTI is in the process of consultation with other opposition parties. The joint opposition will come up with a consensus name shortly.”
“We will bring a consensus opposition leader,” he concluded.