“Parliament is the name of a building. It is the parliamentarians who take the parliament forward or destroy it,” said Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday, hitting back at criticism over his anti-parliament comments which he made during a protest in Lahore a day before.
He also criticised Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif for his stance in the National Assembly today, saying it was people like him and Nawaz who had destroyed the parliament.
“Give me a precedent of any assembly in the world which makes a law to favour a culprit who steals from the people and lies in the court,” said Khan. “What you actually did was make a thief sit on Pakistan’s coffers.”
He was referring to the Election Bill 2017, which was adopted by the National Assembly in October last year and paved the way for former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to be re-elected as the head of the ruling PML-N.
On Wednesday, opposition parties, under the leadership of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, had held a gathering on Lahore’s Mall Road, kick-starting their campaign for the ouster of the PML-N government.
During the rally, Sheikh Rashid had repeatedly cursed the parliament and announced his resignation from his National Assembly seat, prompting Khan to consider quitting the assemblies on the grounds that parliament had lost its utility in protecting people’s rights. Khan, voicing his support for Rashid, had also “cursed” the parliament.
Addressing Thursday’s parliamentary session, members of the National Assembly criticised the opposition leaders for their anti-parliamentary remarks and passed a resolution stating that Khan and Rashid’s open cursing of the parliament was akin to “disrespecting the nation”.
Sharifs are involved in money laundering worth Rs1.74 billion through FZE Capital, Hill Metals and other companies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Khan alleged in the press conference.
“I want to congratulate my team who have made new revelations,” said Khan, accompanied by former PTI general secretary Jahangir Tareen who was disqualified by the Supreme Court last year.
He disclosed that Nawaz Sharif sent approximately Rs800 million to his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif, who sent Rs25m back to him.
Around Rs240m were laundered through employees of the Sharif family and Punjab Police via the Hill Metals establishment.
“We are talking about the prime minister of this country who was doing this,” he said. “Had this been a civilised nation, he would have been in jail rather than asking ‘mujhe kyun nikala’ (why was I thrown out)?”
Khan alleged that the family was involved in laundering money through a network of 16 companies, including FZE Capital and Hill Metals — the chairman of which is Hussain Nawaz Sharif.
He alleged that transactions through bank accounts of multiple people, who, he said, were drivers and other employees of Nawaz, employees of Sharif Medical City and constables of Punjab police, reveal that the companies were solely created for the purpose of money laundering.
“Money from an Iqbal Anjum who works in Saudi Arabia goes to Aurangzeb Akhtar, constable Punjab police, and Mohammad Iqbal, constable Punjab police.”
Further, Rs180m were sent by Sharifs’ driver Punnoo Khan to Asim Mehmood who worked at Sharif Educational Complex, Khan alleged. “Saleem, an employee at Jati Umra sends Rs50m again to Asim Mehmood.”
Asim Mehmood further sent Rs240m to Nawaz Sharif’s employees, Khan said. “It is obvious that this is not going to the drivers but going to the Sharif’s themselves.”
“How can they catch anyone else when they are themselves like this?” Khan asked.
He also said that this was just one company that he was talking about which was involved in laundering worth Rs1.74 billion.
He also said that Nawaz sent Rs20m to Chaudhry Sugar Mills through his own account which was revealed in the investigation by Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).
Taking on the Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, he said that Rs3.5bn credit arrives in Ramzan Sugar Mill — owned by Shahbaz — without any explanation.
All of this money had been acquired through corruption in Pakistan and sent abroad. “There cannot be a more open and shut case than this,” Khan said, adding that all the details would be sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and other organisations for further investigation.
Khan also said that there can be “no bigger fraud” than Asif who was earning Rs1.6m a month while working as a legal consultant, even though he has only worked in banks before.
He also alleged that hundreds of thousands of dollars were going to the United States through Asif’s wife.
“As the head of a party, I have the right to tell the judiciary that you are taking too long in taking action on the case although the man [Asif] is a security risk for the country.”