ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday said Prime Minister Imran Khan was a ‘product of the rigged general elections’, adding that there was an ‘unholy alliance’ between the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Speaking in the National Assembly, Shehbaz said PML-N, PPP, ANP and MMA emerged victorious in the by-polls on the seats that the PTI so easily won during the general election. “Even the seats PM Imran vacated were won by us, which shows that the general election was rigged … there is no other explanation for such a big change in just two months,” he said, adding that his arrest was aimed at getting desired results in the October 14 by-election. “Sheikh Rasheed had said I will be put behind bars and there has to be a reason behind his statement,” he added.
Shehbaz said it was for the first time in the political history of Pakistan that an opposition leader was arrested in such an ungraceful way. “However, I will not discuss merits of NAB case against me,” he added.
Speaking about Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme, he said, “I am charged with cajoling former army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. I am charged with awarding Ashiana Housing Scheme contract to Kamran Kiyani, who is younger brother of former army chief but the reality is that Pervaiz Musharraf and Pervez Elahi government gave the contract to Kamran Kiyani and I canceled it. NAB has charged me not with corruption but exceeding powers in Ashiana Housing Scheme,” he added.
“NAB summoned me to question about Saaf Pani Case, but arrested me in Ashiana Housing case. I was given a notice in the Saaf Pani Case stating ‘come, we will make you have potable water’, but then I was told that I am being arrested in Ashiana Housing Scheme case. What is this joke?” he asked. “Is this tabdeeli that you snatch morsels from people,” he questioned. “This is not tabdeeli or Naya Pakistan but something else.”
” NAB official told me that there is evidence that my children and I have investments in China and Turkey. To which, I hit the roof and told the officials to bring forward the evidence and I will apologise personally and even in parliament as I won’t deserve to be a part of it,” he said, while adding that they then stepped back. “I warned the officials that this conversation is on record,” he added.
“I was asked to testify against Khawaja Asif. To which, I asked NAB officials if they have called me to issue statements against people. I requested them to question me in the case that I have been taken into custody for. I also complained to NAB director regarding this,” Shehbaz said. “As a public representative, a Pakistani and a humble political worker, I want to tell you [NA speaker] that I have done nothing except for serving the people honestly,” he said, and added that the parliament will have to decide whether the law of the jungle will prevail in the country.
In response to Shehbaz Sharif’s speech, Federal Law Minister Farogh Naseem took the floor and said, “I would like to remind the opposition leader that sub judice matters cannot be discussed in the National Assembly. Any case ongoing in the court cannot be discussed here as this is not a court of law and cannot decide whether NAB’s inquiry is legal or not.”
Dismissing Shehbaz’s claim that his arrest was a combined act of the NAB and the PTI-led government, Naseem said, “NAB has the power to arrest irrespective of the fact that the issue is pending or not. The accountability bureau is an independent institution and did what it did without any interference from the government.”