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JIT report is nothing but document filled with assumptions: Bilawal Zardari

25 December, 2018

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KARACHI/ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Calling “ludicrous” a joint investigation team (JIT) report submitted to the Supreme Court in the fake bank accounts case on Monday, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) saw it an attempt to turn the country into “One Unit” and wipe out opposition parties to bring “one-party rule” and warned that it would go to any extent to resist any move targeting its chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

The report of the JIT probing money laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts claims to have found a close nexus between the Zardari Group, Bahria Town and Omni Group.

Addressing a press conference at Bilawal House in Karachi hours after the SC hearing of the money laundering case and the judgement by an accountability court against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, PPP leaders questioned the ongoing “accountability system” and vowed that the party would face all challenges but not give up its campaign against the “selected government”.

“There is a meeting of the party’s central executive committee on Dec 26,” said Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar. “The chairman would announce the party decision on Dec 27 for its future strategy. And let me tell you that there is anger among the workers and people of Pakistan. If any move is made that targets our chairman then it would be clear to everyone that workers would come out [on roads] and we have every option to protest against such move,” he warned.

The PPP leader said the JIT report was nothing but a document filled with assumptions and table stories which had nothing to do with the reality, wondering why the country’s judiciary was only taking up cases against the opposition parties.

“It’s so unfortunate that the former premier [Nawaz Sharif] was sentenced today,” he said. “Amid all such happenings, the question also arises over our courts. For instance a court in Rawalpindi is hearing cases against four former prime ministers of Pakistan, but at the same time it’s not moving against dictator General [Pervez] Musharraf, who had violated the Constitution and arrested the judges.”

Mr Khokhar asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) about the hurdles in the way of arrest of senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders and key members of the government, including Pervez Khattak, Aleem Khan and Zulfi Bukhari.

“It is pity that the system of accountability is only targeting opposition parties. It’s not our opinion alone as every independent circle is raising the same issue. Everyone knows about strong stance of [PPP] chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari whether it’s about missing persons or freedom of expression. We firmly believe that the government wants to target him for his strong stance to suppress his voice,” the PPP senator said.

In Islamabad, senior PPP leaders lashed out at the accountability process in country and said the system was not only victimising the party leadership but also trying to silence the democratic voice.

“This JIT report was connivance between the JIT and the government and I have raised this question in the Senate too. What was Shazad Akbar, who is special assistant to the PM on accountability, doing with the JIT?” Senator Sherry Rehman said.

PPP secretary general Nayyar Bukhari said that a JIT had been constituted against the party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and now another was investigating against its co-chairman Asif Zardari. “As long as the allegations are not proved in the court of law, Faryal Talpur and Asif Ali Zardari are innocent,” he added.

Ms Rehman said: “If they think that we will stand down with our hands folded under the pressure of accountability then they are wrong; we will never bow down to this politics of victimisation.”

She announced that on the occasion of death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto on Dec 27, the PPP would demonstrate its mass standing and show its strength against what she called political victimisation of the party leadership.

She said Mr Zardari had spent 12 years behind bars, but nothing was proved against him, adding that the accountability process should be across the board and sparing a few persons was not correct.

Ms Rehman said that everything was for the opposition parties only to hide failures of the present government as around 100,000 people had been rendered homeless and joblessness had increased over the past four months.

If such mishaps and disrespect to public sentiments continued in “new Pakistan, then we will not remain silent; PPP has never been afraid of political victimisation and our workers even get charged in such testing times,” she added.

In Lahore, senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira objected to the media reporting on the case proceedings and termed it “hired reporting” by the FIA. He said the media must not have reported on it before a court order, but “it seemed as if the case had been adjudicated against us”.

He said they had requested the Supreme Court to refer the fake accounts case to a trial court and now it’s up to the apex court whether it accepted the plea or heard the case on its own. “We would prove innocence of our leadership in courts as well as before the masses.”

Mr Kaira recalled that the PPP leadership had been sentenced in the past and the media then had reported “similar authentic reports” but the courts had latter acquitted them.

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