Pakistan

Shahbaz Sharif appears before Panamagate JIT

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday said that the current session of accountability is not new for the Sharif family as they were subjected to accountability for five times despite no corruption allegation was ever proved against them.

“I have recorded my statement and appeared before the JIT on a notice,” said Sharif while talking to media persons outside Federal Judiciary Academy after turning up before Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing money trail and offshore properties of Sharif family. He was the fourth member of the Sharif family to appear before the JIT today.

Lamenting the merciless accountability, Shahbaz said that he was also suffering from back ailment but did not make an excuse to go abroad for treatment to avoid the accountability. “I did not get admitted in Rawalpindi Medical Institute neither London rather presented my stance before the probing team,” he added.

He said the appearance of his brother Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made history by setting a precedent for others to emulate. “The premier turned up before the JIT for the supremacy of the constitution and I [as Chief Minister] have upheld the exemplary precedent by appearing before the probing team with similar intentions,” Shahbaz added.

“We respect the rule of law and will not hesitate to appear for accountability as many times as they summon us, [as] nothing has proved against us in last four tests of accountability since 1972,” he asserted.

Shahbaz Sharif said that this is the fifth time the Sharif family are being put to trial, but all allegations will be proven false. “The first accountability begun on January 2, 1972 during Bhutto’s presidency when the family was deprived of Ittefaq Foundry ownership,” said Shahbaz Sharif.

He said the family went through the accountability process twice in two tenures of Benazir Bhutto. “The second accountability test span over two years, 1988 to 1990, while the third one began in 1993 which continued for next three years,” he added.

Shahbaz further said that the business of Sharif family has suffered during the tenure of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.  “Ittefaq Foundry  (steel industry) manufactured military equipment to make country’s position strong back in 1965 and 1971 wars but the family was deprived of ownership in 1972,” he lamented.

He was adamant that despite the corruption allegations and repeated accountability, no case of embezzlement ever proved against their family.

Earlier today, Shahbaz Sharif arrived at Federal Judicial Academy amid tight security outside the academy.

On Thursday, PM Sharif appeared before the Panamagate JIT to answer the questions with regard to the Sharif family’s flats in London. This is the first example in Pakistan’s history when a sitting prime minister appeared before a criminal investigation for questioning.

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