ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has accused the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of adopting destructive tactics against the judiciary to shun the accountability of the Sharif family.
“Clearly PML-N is hell-bent on destroying all state institutions. People of Pakistan must be prepared to stand up and defend our state institutions,” Imran tweeted hours after lawyers affiliated with the ruling party created chaos in the accountability court forcing the judge to defer the indictment of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar in corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the Supreme Court’s instructions.
Clearly PMLN is hell-bent on destroying all state institutions. Ppl of Pak must be prepared to stand up & defend our state institutions https://t.co/CeeNO3ZoVY
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 13, 2017
Some lawyers also reportedly attacked the NAB prosecution team which was there to argue the Avenfield Apartments reference.
The cricketer-turned-politician claimed that PML-N was attacking the judiciary to weaken the state institutions.
“The destruction of state institutions means the disintegration of the state. This is the Sharif agenda which nation must counter,” he said.
Imran said this was not the first time the party attacked the judiciary to avoid accountability. “Today the PML-N attacked the Pakistan’s judiciary for the second time — today it was to protect the over Rs30 billion Sharif’s loot stashed abroad.”
Today the PMLN attacked Pak's judiciary for the second time – today it was to protect the over Rs 30 b Sharifs' loot stashed abroad.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 13, 2017
“Why is Nawaz doing this? Why are his children doing this?” Imran asked a rally in Peshawar later the same day.
“Because they [the Sharifs] know that if Nawaz is convicted of money laundering, they will lose all their money. It will come back to Pakistan; it will be frozen,” Imran told the crowd.
“They are trying to protect themselves from accountability. They have no shame that our democracy is being derailed.”
“They are staging a drama to save their money,” Imran said.
“If the Sharif family continues to do this, I will tell the whole country to head towards Islamabad,” Imran added, threatening yet another mass protest.
Taking a jibe at Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal for creating a “drama over Rangers’ deployment” outside the accountability court, the PTI chief claimed it was done to leave the “NAB judge unprotected”. “Now we know the drama of darbari Ahsan Iqbal over the Rangers’ presence in NAB court — it was to leave the NAB judge unprotected.”
“We have to strengthen the institutions of this country that the thieves have ruined and we have to prevent money laundering in this country,” Khan said.
PTI chief also mentioned that the Election Commission of Pakistan has issued arrest warrants against him and asked him to appear for a hearing on Oct 26.
“If a country’s institutions do not work in the ambit of the law and are being headed by corrupt individuals, no country can progress,” the PTI leader said.
The PTI rally was held days ahead of the NA-4 by-election, which is due to be held on Oct 26.
It is vital to mention here that PTI has issued a ticket to Arbab Aamir Ayub for the upcoming by-polls.
The NAB has in total filed three references against the Sharif family and one against Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the accountability court, in light of the Supreme Court’s orders in the Panama Papers case verdict of July 28.
On Friday, the indictment of Maryam and Captain (r) Safdar was postponed for six days after lawyers and supporters belonging to the PML-N created a racket while trying to enter the courtroom.
Sharif did not appear in court as he is in London, along with his sons, to be with his wife Kulsoom who is undergoing treatment for lymphoma. However, the court was expected to indict Maryam and Safdar as their case had been severed from that of her father and brothers — Hassan and Hussain.
With strict security arrangements in place, police barred non-essential personnel, including lawyers, from entering the complex. This led to a scuffle with the police, which resulted in the injury of at least one lawyer.
As the hearing began, the lawyers began protesting inside the court.
They claimed that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had allowed lawyers to be present inside the judicial complex as well as the accountability court as “it is an open court”. They threatened to hold up the hearing until action was taken against the police officials who had allegedly manhandled them outside the court.
As a result of the ruckus, Judge Bashir decided to end court proceedings for the day and asked both defendants to leave the courtroom and return for the hearing on October 19.