ISLAMABAD – Former Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has claimed that he was against the appearance of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before the six-member Joint Investigation Team that investigated the Panama Papers cases against the former ruling family.
In an interview with The Express Tribune, the senior PML-N leader said that he asked Nawaz Sharif to address the nation and clarify that as a common citizen, he was accountable to any court of Pakistan adding that PM’s appearance before grade-19 and 20 officers was against the authority and dignity of his office.
The PML-N maverick expressed that when JIT was being formed, he had advised Sharif to meet the army chief and ask him to withdraw army officers from the team.
However, he said this meeting never went ahead despite that Nawaz Sharif had agreed to his proposal.
Warning that the institutions were now heading towards a clash, Nisar said that a stitch in time would have saved nine.
Regarding the future of the embattled ruling party, Nawaz decried that there was no consensus narrative of the party.
“Lack of clarity is the main issue for PML-N. No party can afford to go into election season with confused minds,” he asserted.
The former security czar opined that the narratives of Sharif or Maryam Nawaz were never discussed in any party meeting.
Over the issue of upcoming elections, Nisar said that there was no option available other than holding elections on time, hastening to add that he did not rule out a minor delay in the process due to legal or administrative issues.
Nisar also lavished praise on ECP for having fulfilled its legal and constitutional job with regard to delimitation, adding that those who have issues with the exercise should approach the ECP for a review.
To a query regarding US Military Attaché Colonel Joseph Hall, the former interior minister said that his name should have been placed on the ECL.
“I should have placed his name on the ECL the very first day of the incident if I had been the interior minister,” declared Nisar.
Arguing that the case was first mishandled at the police station, Nisar said that the police officer must have received instructions from his superiors before releasing the Attaché without any investigation.
The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz leader said that the interior minister should have directed the committee to take a decision for placing his name on ECL.
He also expressed apprehension that Col Hall might have escaped from Pakistan despite being ‘blacklisted’.