Islamabad drama staged to protect Sharifs from accountability, says Imran

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday alleged that a “drama” was staged in Islamabad today so that the Sharif family could protect itself from accountability.

Earlier in the day, an accountability court had been forced to adjourn the proceedings in a graft case against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar, after PML-N lawyers and supporters forcibly entered the building and created mayhem.

The lawyers had surrounded the judge’s bench, loudly complaining that they had been manhandled by security forces outside the court and prevented from entering the courtroom, forcing him to adjourn proceedings.

On Oct 9, the accountability court had said that Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain Safdar would be indicted on Oct 13. However, due to the chaos created, the judge was forced to halt proceedings and asked both defendants to leave the courtroom and return for a hearing on October 19.

“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,” the PTI leader 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.

The former prime minister was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case on July 28. Announcing its verdict, the Court had asked the National Accountability Bureau to open references against Nawaz, his children ─ Maryam, Hassan and Hussain Nawaz ─ and his son-in-law.

“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.

“Today, the PML-N attacked Pakistan’s judiciary for the second time [in history]. Today, it was to protect the over Rs30 billion the Sharifs have looted and stashed abroad,” Imran had said in a tweet earlier today.

He also claimed that Ahsan Iqbal’s “drama” over Rangers’ deployment at the Judicial Complex “was to leave the NAB judge unprotected.”

The PTI rally was held days ahead of the NA-4 by-election, which is due to be held on Oct 26.

“In the election, you have to send the message that Pakistan’s youth is standing for change and wants the rule of justice in the country,” Khan said, urging the residents of Peshawar to come out and cast their votes.

PTI has issued a ticket to Arbab Aamir Ayub for the upcoming by-poll.

“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.

Khan 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.

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