PML-N leaders U-turn on JIT; Question ISI, MI involvement

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The PML-N government has done a backflip on its stance regarding inclusion of the two representatives of MI and ISI in the Panamagate JIT probing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children for their alleged off-shore holdings. A PML-N spokesperson declared on Wednesday that it will seek an explanation for the inclusion of the two military representatives in the body, and went on to threaten to launch an agitation against the JIT proceedings.

The PML-N leaders who looked content with the formation of the JIT by Supreme Court over a month ago, now interestingly want its dissolution for different reasons.

“WhatsApp call (reportedly from Supreme Court registrar) for inclusion of two members (one from the State Bank and other from Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan), leak of Hussain Nawaz’s picture facing his interrogators, JIT members’ pressure tactics and question mark over the expertise of the two members of the JIT — one each from ISI and MI ─ are the reasons enough for the PML-N to go for an agitation against it (JIT),” Dawn quoted Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmed Khan’s statement on Wednesday.

Read More: PML-N’s latest bid to pressure Panama JIT

“Our reservations against the JIT are well-founded and we may go for an agitation against it,” Malik Ahmed Khan threatened.

“As we already had challenged the inclusion of two members ─ Amer Aziz of SBP and Bilal Rasool of SECP ─ in the SC, we are going to seek an explanation that on what grounds the ISI and MI members have been made part of the JIT. We want to know their expertise,” Mr. Khan is quoted to have said. He added that the JIT had been constituted under 184 Civil Procedure Code, however, it was exceeding its legal mandate.

“Under this law, the JIT can only hold an inquiry, but it is carrying out criminal investigation. Has any FIR been registered (against the Sharif family) that it (JIT) is carrying out a criminal investigation,” he queried.

“Our reservations against the JIT are well-founded and we may go for an agitation against it,” Malik Ahmed Khan threatened.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah has also expressed similar views while addressing reporters today (Wednesday). “The Sharif family also has the choice of boycotting the JIT. The PML-N workers may come on the roads against the JIT if a decision in this regard is taken by the leadership. I will be the front runner of this campaign,” he said.

Questioning the impartiality of the JIT, the Sanaullah stated: “The JIT is not conducting an impartial investigation as it is pressurizing the witnesses to elicit statements against the Sharif family”.

He raised objections regarding the durations of the JIT interrogations, asking why the JIT members were interrogating Hussain Nawaz for such an extended period of time. “The JIT may ask questions for a couple of hours, but it is inappropriate that it interrogates a person (Husain) who is fasting for nine to 13 hours,” he said and addressing the JIT, reminded them that they did not possess the Supreme Court’s powers.

Read More: Hudaibiya Paper Mills: Will money trail ever be explained?

Brother of the PM and Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif backed his elder brother and his children when he spoke against “selective accountability” of the Sharif family and asked the SC to take action against “other looters” as well

“We have strong reservations against the JIT and the SC should take notice of its working,” he said, clarifying that PML-N’s objections were not directed towards the apex court.

An increasing number of PML-N leaders have started criticizing the JIT after Shahbaz Sharif derided the SC backed team publicaly.

Brother of the PM and Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif backed his elder brother and his children when he spoke against “selective accountability” of the Sharif family and asked the SC to take action against “other looters” as well.

“The PML-N voice has got louder after the support of Shahbaz Sharif camp, since the Nawaz camp members have already been raising objections to the JIT working on a daily basis,” a PML-N leader from Punjab said on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, co-chairman of PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has raised his voice in support of constitutional institutions.

On Thursday, The PPP leader stated that the PPP will put up stiff resistance against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and strong support for institutions in the event of a conflict.

Read More: Hussein Nawaz grilled by Panamagate JIT

“PPP will not tolerate any attack on institutions to save Nawaz Sharif and his family from accountability”

“Our leadership suffered judicial murders and we took bodies but we never indulged in any confrontation with institutions,” He claimed, adding: “We sacrificed our elected prime ministers and governments and still accepted decisions of the institutions.”

He issued a strong-worded warning to the PM and his party, saying that the PPP will not tolerate any attack on institutions to save Nawaz Sharif and his family from accountability

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