My family and I have presented ourselves for accountability, said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday after appearing before the Panama case Joint Investigation Team (JIT) for questioning.
The premier’s questioning drew to an end at around 2pm after he had spent approximately three hours in front of the high-profile probe team.
Speaking to the media outside the Federal Judicial Academy, he said “I have told the JIT my point of view.” All documents related to my assets, though already with the Supreme Court, have been provided to the JIT now, he added.
Standing behind the dais outside the venue and reading a prepared speech, the premier said today is a milestone for the rule of law. He added that he has given an account for each penny earned by his family. “Is there any other family that has given such robust accountability of three of its generations?” he asked.
The premier stressed that the assets under question are his family’s private assets and have nothing to do with public money. “This is worth noting,” he remarked.
He claimed his first accountability started in 1972 when he had graduated from university, hinting at nationalisation of his family business by then prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. “Musharraf’s dictatorship also investigated us rigorously but had he found something he wouldn’t have had to lodge bogus hijacking cases against us,” he said.
“People have elected me for the third time and today in our own government we have presented ourselves for accountability,” he said, adding that “I’ve appeared here today because despite being a prime minister we are all accountable to the law.”
He also expressed hope that him and his family will be exonerated by the JIT and the Supreme Court.
Hitting out at his opponents, he said “Our opponents can continue to conspire and raise allegations, but they will not succeed.” The PM claimed that despite spearheading record development in the present government, his opponents have failed to even bring forth an accusation of corruption or kickbacks.
He said in a few days the JIT report will be made public along with the court’s decision, but we should remember a bigger JIT and a bigger court is going to be held soon. “That is the court and JIT of 20 million people,” he said, hinting at the general elections slated to be held next year.
“There is also God’s court in front of which we all have to appear,” he said, adding that I’m worried about that appearance all the time.
Addressing the media, he said “you’ll have a lot of questions I’m sure, and I have a lot to say but let’s leave that for another time.”
Behind the dais, he was accompanied by Hamza Shehbaz, Hassan Nawaz and Asif Kirmani, among others.