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ISLAMABAD: Jamaat-e-Islami Chief Sirajul Haq, while criticising the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government wanted to make the accountability watchdog and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) a political wing and get NRO for the PTI chief Imran Khan and other party leaders.

He was talking to reporters, here on Monday, after filing a petition in the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan on Pandora Papers issue, appealing the top court to order investigation into the names exposed in the latest papers scandal and Panama leaks.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan would talk about freeing the NAB from political influence when he was in the opposition.

But the NAB under his government was taking action only against the poor, he added.

He said 50 days had passed since the Pandora Papers came to light, but instead of taking any action, the government was doing nothing to investigate the owners of the offshore properties.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was surrounded by a mafia, he maintained.

“The elite class including judges have purchased properties in London,” he said.

JI chief Sirajul Haq filed the application through the lawyer, Ishtiaq Ahmed Raja, on Monday and prayed before the apex court to allow placement of additional documents (Pandora Papers) in already pending petition on Panama leaks.

The JI had filed the petition before the SC in 2016 on Panama leaks under the article 184(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan.

“We appealed to the Supreme Court of Pakistan to constitute a JIT to launch an investigation into the owners of shell companies mentioned in Pandora Papers and Panama leaks,” Sirajul Haq told the journalists outside the Supreme Court building after filing the application.

Names of more than 700 Pakistani were exposed in Pandora Papers and 436 owners of offshore companies had already been reported in Panama leaks, he said, adding the JI prayed before the top court that being a competent authority, it should provide justice to the poor Pakistanis whose money were stolen and stashed in foreign accounts by the ruling elite.

He said the action was taken only against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Panama leaks issue and that he (Nawaz Sharif) too was ousted on the basis of iqama (residential permit).

“Prime Minister Imran Khan’s claims to strengthen the accountability system proved a “pack of lies”. We don’t have any faith in the Prime Minister’s Cell formed to investigate into the Pandora Papers scandal,” he said, adding only the Supreme Court could provide justice to the poor Pakistanis.

He said the names of the members of the three parties (the PTI, the PML-N, and the PPP) were mentioned in the two leaks besides the owners of shell companies were civil and military bureaucrats, former judges, and businessmen.

Sirajul Haq said the billions of rupees of taxpayers and of the poor nation was being stolen by the ruling elite, which was so powerful that they considered themselves above any law in the country.

Pakistani elite was at number five on the world list, which purchased expensive properties in London and other European countries, while people of Pakistan were starving to death, said the JI chief.

“We had knocked the door of the Supreme Court when Panama leaks surfaced and now, we again request the top court to set a strong and independent system of accountability in the country.”

The PTI government, he said, was the continuation of the PML-N and the PPP regimes and they were all sides of the same coin, serving their self-interests and having nothing to do with the masses.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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