Published On:Saturday, 23 April 2016
Posted by Chaudhry

I present myself and my family for accountability: PM: Will resign if proven guilty

I present myself and my family for accountability: PM:  Will resign if proven guilty

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday that he would write a letter to the chief justice of the Supreme Court to form a commission to investigate the Panama Papers’ reports about the offshore companies owned by his family.
“I have decided to write a letter to the honourable chief justice of the Supreme Court to constitute a commission to probe this matter (allegations of Panama Papers),” the prime minister said in his address to the nation on radio and television. He said that he would wholeheartedly accept the recommendations of the commission. If the allegations levelled against him proved wrong then those accusing him would have to face the nation and apologise, he added.
The prime minister referred to his earlier address to the nation and said that he had announced setting up a commission at a time when there was no such public demand. He regretted that his political opponents were pressurising the judges not to be a part of the inquiry commission.
Sharif said he was not afraid of anyone, but Allah Almighty. “I have full faith in Him and the people of Pakistan, who will respond to these baseless allegations.”
Rejecting what, he said, was a “fascist attitude” to destroy and bring instability to the country, the prime minister said the day allegations against him were proved, he would not wait for a moment and go home. He said the current crisis, made up by his opponents, was nothing but eyewash aimed at getting power, by creating instability in the country.
The prime minister said immediately after the Panama Papers issue came to the fore, he took the nation into confidence, despite the fact that there was no allegation against him. He said he announced a commission to probe the matter and clear the allegations levelled against him by his political opponents once and for all.
“These are all 22-year old allegations,” the prime minister said and added that all these cases have been probed several times. He said former president Pervez Musharraf thoroughly investigated, but failed to find misappropriation of even a penny. “I once again present myself and my family for accountability,” the prime minister said and added that details of his assets as declared through his income tax returns, were available.
“We have been paying taxes since the time people even did not know what tax was,” he said and added it was his government that for the first time published the tax directory. He dismissed the allegations that he paid a little tax as nothing but “blatant lies” and said the people of Pakistan were well aware of the facts.
The prime minister said the people of Pakistan had in the past rejected such allegations and expressed solidarity with him by reposing confidence in him and voting for him in the general election. He said his life was like an open book as he was born and bred in Pakistan and his children also grew up here. He said he was proud of having his family associated with Pakistan and would die in his homeland.
Sharif said that exile was the worst time for him in his political career spanning three decades. Only he or his family knew how they endured it, he added. He said all the details of his assets had already been declared in the form of income tax returns. He said the Pakistani media was freer than the media in the developed countries. He said the commission had yet to be formed and proceedings had yet to start, but some people had already given their verdict. “Will they desire such a justice for them?” he questioned.
Sharif said he had been responding to the very questions in the past and was willing to answer them today. He said that people had the right to question and the leaders were bound to answer their questions.
Sharif recalled that a judicial commission constituted in 2014 with national consensus to probe the allegations of rigging in the 2013 general election had rejected the accusations as a “pack of lies”. He regretted that those who were making the allegations of rigging and were using foul language from the top of a container did not have the moral courage to apologise to the nation after the commission acquitted his party of vote rigging.
The prime minister said his family had been held accountable for every penny and referred to the loss of billions of rupees his family had suffered due to nationalisation in 1972. “Who will be held accountable for those losses?” he asked.
Sharif said he was even ready to stand accountable for the salary he never received as a prime minister. “But who will hold those accountable who travel in private planes,” he asked.
The prime minister said that people were set to benefit from his government’s ongoing development agenda and his power-hungry opponents were foreseeing their defeat in the next general election. He said he was not concerned about the allegations against his family, but he was concerned about the losses suffered by the country. He said it was an “unforgivable” crime and asked the people to hold those accountable who were making Pakistan suffer. “These people want me to waste my energies responding to such baseless allegations instead of focussing on the progress and development of the country,” he said.
The prime minister said his vision was progress, prosperity and a bright Pakistan. “We too have some questions and need answers,” he said.
“Those asking questions about our factories in Saudi Arabia should tell us who sent us in exile and why? Those proclaiming for rule of law should tell under which law an elected prime minister was handcuffed and put behind the bars? Why someone did not dare to wake up the Supreme Court when we were exiled? Those claiming to be the embodiment of virtue today also kept a mum except a very few people when our businesses and private residence were locked. Those teaching us morality should tell us where was their moral courage at that time? Those trying to teach us the definition of democracy should also tell as who for the sake of prime minister’s office was supporting the dictator who had plunged the country into terrorism? Those referring to the law and morality should tell us under which legal clause and article of the Constitution they had pledged allegiance to the dictator?” he asked.

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