PMLN vice-president says JIT should be formed to investigate findings of scrutiny committee
Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz on Thursday demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan resign in light of the findings of an Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) scrutiny committee report that suggested his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had deliberately concealed the full extent of its funding.
Addressing a press conference alongside former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former senator Pervaiz Rashid, party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb and senior leader Rana Sanaullah, she said it was not enough to make the report on the foreign funding case public. “Action should be taken against those identified in the ECP report,” she said, adding that the report was “meaningless” if concrete action were not taken against all culprits.
Appreciating the ECP for “braving the pressure of the sitting government and making the report public,” she stressed that the next step was to ensure the punishment for Imran Khan and other PTI office-bearers matched the crime. She also called for the formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT)—along the lines of the one formed to probe the Panama Papers case against Nawaz Sharif—and for the case to be tried “on a day-to-day basis under the supervision of a Supreme Court judge.”
Earlier this week, a report compiled by the ECP’s scrutiny committee into the foreign funding of the PTI revealed the party had concealed from the commission several accounts containing around Rs. 310 million between 2008 and 2013. According to the report, the party received $44,000 from 88 foreign donors during this period.
Maryam regretted that rather than responding to the allegations levelled in the ECP report, the prime minister had started asking his “spokespersons” to project him as the party’s “brand” in a bid to revive their vote-bank. “Imran is a brand, alright, but a brand of corruption, incompetence, ineptness, intrigue, conspiracy, inflation, destruction of economy and illegal foreign funding,” she alleged.
She also noted that Pakistan’s laws did not permit any political party to receive funding from foreign donors, adding that a probe should be launched into the source and utilization of funds the PTI received from abroad. If top PMLN leaders, including herself, could remain in jail, she said, then “there should be no sacred cows.”
To a question, the PMLN leader said her party was not seeking any deal with “non-political” entities. “Deals are sought by those who have no roots in public. Look at the by-elections, people are calling for Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif to come back in power to fix the country,” she said. To another question on whether she would apologize for remarks against two analysts in a leaked audio tape of a private telephonic conversation, she said that it was the people who had tapped her phone that needed to apologize.