LAHORE: Federal Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique has said that Panama Papers have no legal status and many countries did not take the issue seriously.
Addressing a party event in Lahore Sunday, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader said “Only in Pakistan these documents were taken seriously, where an elected prime minister and his family were dragged into cases”.
“No evidence of money laundering has been provided in the Panama case. Despite our reservations we continue to appear before the JIT,” he said.
“They [JIT] tap phones but no one asks them if that’s legal,” he said, adding that they have now started calling our daughters as well, a reference to the summoning of prime minister’s daughter Maryam Nawaz by the JIT on July 5.
“They don’t explain who leaked Hussain Nawaz’s picture and made the WhatsApp calls,” claimed Rafique. No one should make popular decisions, be it politicians, the government or state institutions, he said but assured that “nevertheless, our heads will continue to bow down in front of the courts”.
He said that the government has been under attack since it was formed four years ago. When the sit-in by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 2014 failed, we were expecting another assault, which came in the form of Panama Papers, he claimed.
When we came into power the country was in a terrible state but we restored institutions and the situation improved, he added. He said the government will continue to work for the people regardless of the hurdles put in their path. “No matter what they say, we will focus on our agenda,” he said.
Prime ministers of the country were repeatedly sent packing through martial laws and ‘doctrines of necessity’, he recalled. The minister also came down hard on TV talk show hosts, saying some ‘journalists’ were biased in their coverage of the government while those who stand with democracy are dubbed traitors.
He lashed out at the ‘enemies’ of Pakistan, who are bent on destroying the country by targeting its institutions and economy. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was threatened with sanctions when Pakistan was becoming an atomic power in 1998 but he went on with it despite the threats by world powers,” he said.
He pleaded that democracy and political parties should be left alone to flourish as that is what is in the best interest of the country. “We should all worry about Pakistan as protecting democracy isn’t just the job of political parties and the civilian government but also the media, judiciary and parliament,” he added.
He also criticised the recent inclusion of ‘turncoats’ in the PTI. Rafique also lashed out at Awami Muslim League leader MNA Sheikh Rasheed, without naming the former PML-N member, who is set to join the PTI.
“Benazir Bhutto’s martyrdom hurt us as well as it removed a formidable opposition leader,” he said, adding that a big leader can’t compete with a dwarf.
The railways minister went on to say that they are being subjected to hatred and biasness. He added that they did not wish to challenge anyone.
Rafique went on to say that Charter of Democracy was a key document in the history of Pakistan as it closed all the doors for hatred and bias.
He stated that the ruling party is targeted whenever they try to resolve the issues of the country adding that the country came into being with the power of vote and not through guerrilla war.
He also said that the peace has returned in Karachi and Balochistan with the solid actions of the government and support of the army.