Islamabad: Amid growing tension between him and the powerful army chief General Raheel Sharif, Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif on Friday struck a defiant note, lashing out at those “plotting to destabilize him”.
Sharif said he was accountable only to Allah and awam (people), even as he said he was ready to face a probe into the Panama Paper disclosures about him and his family having offshore accounts.
Sacking six top officers, Raheel said the fight against terrorism couldn’t succeed unless corruption was uprooted – remarks seen aimed at the PM.
Nawaz Sharif’s decision to go public with his defiance came just a day after the army chief sacked six top serving army officers over grave corruption charges, in a move which was widely seen as designed to put pressure on the Prime Minister.
General Sharif had declared: “The ongoing war against terrorism cannot bring enduring peace and stability unless corruption is uprooted.Therefore, across the board accountability is necessary…”. The remarks were seen as primarily aimed at Sharif.
Sharif, who was ousted in coup by former dictator Pervez Musharraf, also took digs at his political rivals who have asked for his resignation in the wake of Panama Papers leaks.
“When a sitting PM was handcuffed, put behind bars and then sent into exile by a military dictator, why nobody bothered? Why the doors of the Supreme Court were not knocked at that time for justice?” “I challenge all those who accuse me and my family of tax fraud. They should come forward and present evidence.
If charges are proved against me, I will resign immediately,” he said in his address. Sharif said he would write a letter to the chief justice of Pakistan to form a commission to probe the allegations levelled against him and his family.
“If the charges are proved unfounded, will the accusers seek apology from the nation? And will the nation forgive them?” he said.
Sharif ‘s televised address came a day after the Election Commission released his assets statements for 2015, which make him one of the richest politicians in Pakistan with personal assets of Rs 2 billion, an increase of over a billion in just four years.