Islamabad (October 17, 2018): Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday dismissed PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif’s allegations that the PTI and NAB “have an unholy alliance” and said, “We did not appoint a single person in the accountability bureau.”
Addressing the National Assembly, Fawad said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Khursheed Shah appointed the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
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“Officials in NAB were appointed by the previous governments and not even a sweeper in the bureau has been hired by us,” he added.
The information minister asserted, “Not even a single case against the Sharif brothers was initiated by us.”
Further, commenting on Shehbaz’s speech, Chaudhry said, “I was very glad that the opposition leader repeatedly said he will be ashamed and leave the Parliament if corruption is proven against him but I want to ask if the same rules apply on his brother.”
“I want to also clarify that cases against Shehbaz will not affect Pakistan and China’s relations,” he added while dismissing the PML-N president’s statements. “Today, our relations with UAE, China, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the strongest they have ever been and are continuing to gain strength.”He further commended the NA speaker for issuing Shehbaz’s production orders and said, “The government stands with the opposition on several matters.”
Earlier today, Pakistan Peoples Party leader, Syed Khursheed Shah has said that the debt has increased as soon as PTI assumed the power.
Addressing in National Assembly, Shah said the stock exchanged dropped from 52,000 points to 36,000 points and dollar is at an all-time high — it was never this high during PML-N or PPP’s terms. Why does nobody talk about inflation and the crumbling economy?”
“We gradually understood the importance of Parliament and the circumstances of the country are discussed here. Parliament forms laws for institutions,” Shah said.
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Shah further said, “People are worried and the government is also fearful. When he [PM Imran] was in opposition he used to say that he should be hanged if he approached the International Monetary Fund.”
Stating that his political career spans over 30 years, Shah said, “There should be an investigation regarding where we have done this corruption that they [government] speaks of.”
“We do not know politics of hurling abuses,” he added. Earlier, PPP leader Khursheed Shah opposed Chaudhry taking to the floor and said it had been agreed that the government will respond towards the end of the session.
The information minister then asked, “If you don’t let us then talk then should we let you?” However, the NA speaker then asked Shah to address the session.
Earlier today, the leader of the Opposition in National Assembly and President Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif has said that the Prime Minister Imran Khan is the product of electoral rigging. Stating that it has been proven that the 2018 General Election was rigged.
Addressing the National Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif said, ” I want to thank you [NA Speaker Asad Qaiser] for keeping party politics aside and issuing my production orders.” He then thanked Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, leaders of the Awami National Party and MMA, National Party member Hasil Bizenjo and “all friends”.
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“If my inhibition isn’t wrong, it is the first time that the elected leader of the opposition has been arrested in such a manner and that even without any charge,” he continued.
“I won’t speak about the merit of the cases but I want to discuss the unholy alliance between the National Accountability Bureau and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI),” Shehbaz said.
“PTI and NAB work closely,” he claimed while adding that the accountability bureau is targetting opposition parties.
Elaborating on his allegations, Shehbaz said, “Terrorism cases were filed against us on May 13 and NAB chairman has prepared my arrest orders between July 5-6. However, the decision to arrest me was implemented ahead of the by-polls.”He continued, “Sheikh Rasheed had said I will be put behind bars and there has to be a reason behind his statement.”
Speaking about former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz’s arrest, Shehbaz said, “For the first time, a father was imprisoned in front of his daughter and a daughter in front of her father.”
Shehbaz added, “We expect the speaker to rise above likes and dislikes and to take action against intrusion in democracy.”
“As a public representative, Pakistani and a humble political worker I want to tell you [NA Speaker] that I have done nothing except for serving the people honestly,” he said and added that the Parliament will have to decide whether the “law of the jungle” will prevail.Delving into details regarding the Ashiana Housing Scheme, Shehbaz said, “It was alleged that I gave the contract to former army chief General (retd) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s brother to please him. However, I met Kamran Kayani for the first time in 2008. He had been awarded the contract by the Punjab government that was led by Pervez Elahi.”
“I did not go into the credentials of the contract as though it had to do with NAB or the previous government. However, when work was not being done I took up the matter with General (retd) Kayani who told me that I could cancel the contract if I pleased but I asked him to warn his younger brother instead.”“However, when I saw that Kamran was not listening to friendly advice I cancelled the contract,” Shehbaz said as opposition members broke into applause. “Till date, the former army chief has not questioned me regarding cancellation of his brother’s contract which goes on to show his integrity.”
“An inquiry under the supervision of then finance secretary Tariq Bajwa, who is the current governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), was carried out into the contract. I had forwarded the inquiry report to the anti-corruption department and had I not, then it could be alleged that I tried to protect Kamran Kayani,” Shehbaz thundered.
“I was given a notice in the Saaf Pani Case stating ‘come, we will make you have potable water’, but then I was told that I am being arrested in Ashiana Housing Scheme case. What is this joke?” he asked.“Is this tabdeeli that you snatch morsels from people,” he questioned. “This is not tabdeeli or Naya Pakistan but something else.”
“The NAB official told me that there is evidence that my children and I have investments in China and Turkey. To which, I hit the roof and told the officials to bring forward the evidence and I will apologise in Parliament,” he said while adding that they then stepped back and he warned the officials that this conversation is on record. “I told them you are involving our trusted friends in this low allegation,” he added. “Then, the officer blamed that the assets may be ‘benami’, I challenged this too. And they stepped back from it too.”
Questioning whether it is the “accountability bureau or blackmailing bureau,” Shehbaz once again spoke about the “unholy alliance between NAB and PTI” and said, “Imran Khan had levelled a similar allegation earlier and now NAB said it to me.”
“I have made mistakes but gave my blood and sweat for governance in Punjab,” he said.
The PML-N president continued, “I am the most ardent supporter of Pakistan-China and Pakistan-Saudi Arabia friendship but I will do anything to save every penny of this country and go to the last point to defend Pakistan’s interests.”“People say Punjab Speed and Shehbaz Speed but I say it is Godspeed and Pakistan Speed,” he said while speaking about projects with China.
He further said, “I was asked to testify against Khawaja Asif. To which I asked NAB officials if they have called me to issue statements against people and requested them to question me in the case that I have been taken in custody for. I have also complained to NAB director regarding this.”
“People are being asked to testify me and are being promised a big post in return,” he added.
“NAB has always been a silent spectator,” he said, “However, I have always raised my voice in my humble way and will continue doing so.”