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ISLAMABAD: The major opposition political parties – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) – Friday rejected the appointment of former Justice Azmat Saeed as head of Broadsheet scandal inquiry commission, and demanded an ‘undisputed and non-controversial’ person as its chairman, besides seeking its proceedings to be made public.

Speaking at a news conference, senior PML-N leaders including former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, party secretary general Ahsan Iqbal, Khurram Dastgir Khan, Mohammad Zubair, and Marriyum Aurangzeb said the issue has not only dented the country financially, but has also defiled the image and integrity of Pakistan, its institutions and its sensitive security agencies.

Shahid Khaqan said the cases such as Broadsheet were the reason “why Pakistan had been in a state of crisis.”

“When institutions are established for the sole reason of tarnishing the image of politicians and slinging mud at them by dubbing them corrupt, the country could never function. But today, these institutions that are instruments of political victimization had been exposed and those who created these and pulled their strings had also been exposed,” he maintained.

Showing the 14-page contract signed with Broadsheet LLC Isle of Man England, he said, signed by Lt-Gen Syed Mohammad Amjad (retd) as then chairman NAB, Dr Pepper, who was running asset recovery firm Trouvons LLC, Prosecutor General NAB Farooq Azam Khan and Tariq Fawad Malik as witness.

He said that Pakistan had paid $65 million to the company and one-third of which was paid by the PTI government.

He maintained that by the decision of Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) and the federal cabinet this one-third amount was transferred into the Pakistani High Commission’s account and Broadsheet was permitted to take that money.

He added that the PTI government went a step ahead and decided to make a commission over the payment of the remaining one-third amount and now Kavi Mousavi, owner of the Broadsheet LLC, repeatedly had been saying that the representative of the current administrations continuously approached them for their cut for facilitating this payment.

Rejecting the appointment of former Justice Azmat Saeed as the chairman of the inquiry commission, he urged Justice Azmat to decline accepting the position “instead of tarnishing his legacy forever”.

Abbasi also condemned the act, and said such acts only depicted the “cowardice” of this “incompetent” and “unqualified regime”.

Meanwhile, the PPP also rejected the inquiry committee set up by the government on the revelations made by Broadsheet owner Kaveh Moussavi.

PPP’s secretary-general PPP Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said that his party ‘trashed’ the formation of inquiry committee headed by the former Justice Shaikh Azmat Saeed.

“Probing the Broadsheet issue amounted to befooling people. The appointment of retired Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed as the committee head was proof of the government’s bad intentions,” he maintained.

“This committee is to misguide people and exposes the mala fide intent of the government. The purpose of this committee is to accuse the opposition and the previous governments,” he said in a statement. “Making Azmat Saeed as the committee head means that the government wants to put all blame of the Broadsheet issue on the previous governments,” he said, adding that Broadsheet scandal was a “very serious” issue and that should be probed with transparency.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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