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Accountability must begin with PM, says Imran

Accountability must begin with PM, says Imran

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday to present himself for accountability for his “proven” corruption, tax evasion, money laundering and amassing wealth and assets abroad in the name of his sons and daughter.

“Mian Nawaz Sharif will eventually go to jail when held accountable for his undeclared assets,” he asserted.

Saying that he would reveal the inquiry commission’s terms of reference after consulting all opposition parties on Monday, he asserted that the wheels of justice must start rolling by holding the prime minister accountable first. “The prime minister must resign because he has lost the moral ground to keep ruling the masses.”

Mr Khan was speaking to a charged crowed on The Mall, where the administration had reluctantly given ‘permission’ by extending heavy security in the wake of security concerns and ban on gatherings at the venue.

A large crowd of people, including women and children, raised the PTI’s flags and chanted slogans against the government to the accompaniment of party songs during Mr Khan’s speech, which lasted over an hour. Although there was nothing new in the speech, the first formal public gathering stepped up PTI’s movement against corruption under the banner of “Corruption se chhutkara: Imran Khan ne pukara”.

The PTI chief emphasised that democracy in Pakistan would strengthen if the accountability began from the top and supported his stance with the high moral ground examples set by the heads of state in the world. He stated that only dictators and monarchs had not answered for their corruption and misdeeds.

While Imran Khan has already retreated from his announcement about marching on the prime minister’s Raiwind residence, he asked PTI workers and supporters whether they would be ready to march towards Raiwind. Upon enthusiastic affirmation from the crowed, he pacified them that the time had not come for such a march.

Announcing his next public meeting in Faisalabad on next Sunday (May 8), he told Nawaz Sharif that he was giving him more time to speak the truth before the nation — by holding a press conference. Otherwise, he said, the PTI and the whole nation would compel him to be answerable before an independent inquiry commission.

Mr Khan said Pakistan had entered a decisive time and the nation must understand the gravity of the Panama leaks, which explained that how a country and a nation became corrupt and failed to progress. Citing a Chinese proverb “Fish rots from the top”, he said a country and nation got devastated when its rulers became corrupt. He stressed that the rulers must lead by example.

The PTI chief also chided Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for extravagantly spending public money on different personal interests, including running half a dozen camp offices in Punjab.

He said it was very easy to make money while in the government. He lambasted the two brothers by accusing them of flourishing their own businesses and keeping the citizens poor in the absence of education, health and job opportunities. He said the human development index in Pakistan was continuously decreasing among the comity of nations. “No nation has progressed with the building of roads and bridges but by offering quality education, healthcare facilities and dispensing justice,” he asserted.

He exhorted the PML-N workers to ask their leader to declare his assets. Otherwise, he told them that they would continue groping in the dark without education, healthcare and justice.

Criticising Nawaz Sharif’s “darbaris”, Mr Khan asked Defence and Power Minister Khwaja Asif to answer about the payment of some Rs480 billion to independent power producers.

The PTI chairman also spoke about the plight of labourers and farmers in the country, who were not being given their due right despite working hard.

“After taking the Panama leaks issue to its logical end, I will join the labourers and farmers in rural areas and raise voice to get their due rights,” he vowed.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2016

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