ISLAMABAD: The much-awaited response to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s incendiary allegations that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to bribe him to look the other way in the Panama Papers case came on Thursday with the latter’s legal team advising to file a defamation suit.
The government is considering filing a defamation case against the PTI chief on his incendiary allegations that the Sharif family had offered him Rs10 billion to back off from the Panamagate case.
Legal wizards of the government disclosed this during a meeting at the PM’s House. They were giving another briefing to the premier on different aspects of the apex court’s verdict in the Panamagate case.
Some legal experts have recommended the government to engage Imran in a legal battle on what they call gratuitous claim. “This thing has to be stopped now. He should not be given an open licence to say whatever he wants,” a close aide of the prime minister told The Express Tribune.
An official present during the meeting at the PM House said that there were two views on the issue; one of them which was predominant called for filing a defamation case, while a few others said it would tantamount to giving the PTI chief much too importance. They believed that it has become an intrinsic nature of Imran to level allegations which he cannot stand by later on.
The government is already weighing options of filing a review on the Supreme Court’s decision to further investigate the Sharif family’s alleged involvement in corruption through a joint investigation team (JIT) comprising officials from civil and military agencies.
The prime minister was given a briefing on the JIT and its scope. The final decision on further course of action on both Panama Papers and Imran’s allegation issues will be taken up by the premier after another meeting with his legal team.
Separately, PTI chief’s expose that Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s close friend had tried to bribe him Rs10 billion to back off from the Panamagate case did not sit well with the latter.
The Punjab chief minister strongly rejected the allegation levelled by the PTI chief while addressing the fourth round of laptop distribution ceremony at Aiwan-e-Iqbal on Thursday.
He said Khan has falsely accused him of trying to bribe him through common friends in the Panamagate issue.
He said he reserves the right to launch a legal proceeding against Khan. “If the allegation is proven true, then people should not forgive me, but if it’s a lie, then the court should take action against Khan,” he added.
Khan, who had set a record in cricket history by winning the World Cup, is also setting new records in Pakistan politics of accusations and lies, he added.
The Punjab CM also criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari for terming China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) his initiative, saying that if CPEC was his initiative then how had he forgotten to lay the foundation stone of the Gwadar Port?
Talking about the laptop scheme, he said till now some 310,000 laptops have been distributed among students on merit. In this fourth round, 150,000 laptops will be distributed among bright students. The scheme is not just limited to bright students of Punjab, but the students receiving education in Punjab from all over the country are also included. We have been giving laptops to bright students of Punjab so they may change the destiny of our country, he added.
Back in 2011 when the Punjab government launched the laptop scheme, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was accused of trying to bribe students, he said and added that the project that the government continued, despite stiff criticism, has proven successful. The laptop scheme has produced information technology experts, who have started small online businesses and are making a good earning. They are also focusing on students in schools. The government has given 500,000 tablets to schools’ administrations to monitor students’ attendances on a daily basis, he added.