• Wed. Mar 15th, 2023

PM Shehbaz fires fresh broadsides at Imran after Daily Mail apology

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is holding the presser along with other cabinet members. — Screengrab
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is holding the presser along with other cabinet members. — Screengrab

Firing fresh broadside at the PTI-led past government, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday said the former rulers tried to malign Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, his family and his party by levelling baseless allegations.

Addressing a joint press conference flanked by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and other cabinet members, the premier said that Imran Khan’s government had tried to defame his leader Nawaz Sharif, him and his party inside and outside the country.

PM Shehbaz said it was a “heartless” approach by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and his “minions” when they got involved with Daily Mail.

“They thought that if this damaged Pakistan’s reputation, it won’t matter. They wanted to embarrass the Sharif family no matter what,” he added.

The premier said from 2008-2018, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) provided 600 million pounds to Pakistan for flood affectees — and most of that amount was given to Punjab.

“That fund was spent in a transparent manner. They aimed at proving that Shehbaz’s children laundered millions of rupees abroad. This is a part of the article.”

In the same article, it is written that Shahzad Akbar — ex-PM Khan’s aide on accountability — had arranged tours for Daily Mail journalist David Rose, where he showed them the condition of convicts residing in jails, PM Shehbaz said.

He added when the article was published in 2019, the PTI’s minister was upbeat about the publication of the article and started levelling baseless allegations against the Sharif family.

“And despite it being a Sunday, the DFID issued a clarification that nothing of the sort happened. It is in my knowledge that DFID’s clarification was delayed by six hours on Imran’s directions. They wanted to slander me first.”

Maryam Nawaz was taken into custody when she reached Kot Lakhpat jail to meet her incarcerated father, PM Shehbaz said, adding, “By the grace of Allah, she was given clean chit by the IHC.”

Slamming the former government for the alleged political victimisation of the opponents, the prime minister said that “similarly, former president Asif Ali Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur was arrested on the Eid night”.

Contrarily, then-prime minister Imran gave “NRO” to his sister Aleema Khanum, he added.

“If I were the prime minister, I would have never arrested his sister,” Premier Shehbaz added.

He went on to say that Imran Khan destroyed Pakistan by double standards and brought the country to the verge of economic collapse.

Talking about the revival of Pakistan’s EFF programme, the prime minister said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was not ready to trust us due to the policies of the previous government. “You [PTI govt] do not honour your commandments,” the prime minister said, quoting the IMF officials.

During the last days of his tenure, Imran Khan laid landmines for the upcoming government by not passing on the burden of petroleum prices to the consumers, the premier added.

PM Shehbaz said his government, with a heavy heart, passed on the burden to the masses and took the tough decisions as soon as he assumed the PM Office. “We sacrificed our politics for the sake of the state.”

While talking about the infamous Panama Papers, PM Shehbaz said the case was lodged against Nawaz Sharif but he was handed down punishment in iqama, the prime minister added. The prime minister claimed that the PML-N supremo’s name was not mentioned in the Panama Papers case hence the iqama issue was taken into the case.

Refereeing to former Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui’s statement in which he had said a senior intelligence officer met him over verdicts he had issued, PM Shehbaz said that the truth always prevails.

“Imran Niazi and his aides provided thousands of documents to the UK’s National Crime Agency but after the two years of investigations acquitted him in the case.”

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