Wednesday May 18, 2016
ISLAMABAD: Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday said that a battle of accusations has continued since the Panama Papers leaks surfaced and it would have been better if consensus was reached through the Parliament’s platform.
Khawaja Asif was addressing the National Assembly after speeches by Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan. Asif said that he heard all the speeches made by the opposition’s side.
He said that the Parliament is the most supreme and respectable institution, and it should take the matter of investigating Panama leaks into its jurisdiction.
"If the Parliament was weak in the past, we should take responsibility for it," he said.
It is unfortunate that the latest controversy of Panama Papers leaks named a lot of people, however, spotlight was only on the politicians in the documents, Asif said.
The federal minister lambasted Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan in his speech and said, "He (Imran Khan) has his own offshore company and since the Panama scandal surfaced he kept on criticising those named, but never mentioned his own company in Jersey."
"An offshore company in Panama is no different than the one is New Jersey. An offshore company remains an offshore company no matter what," he said.
"Those who are asking for accountability should be clean themselves. Those who hurl stones at others should not be tainted with the same sins they accuse others of committing," said the federal minister.
Khawaja Asif claimed that Imran Khan’s Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre did not publish its balance sheet for three years.
“Shaukat Khanum is respectable to us and we also took part in its creation,” the minister said.
“We didn’t harm Imran Khan’s charity organisation, he himself hurt the institution with his own actions,” Asif added.
He said that if the prime minister could present himself for accountability, then the money invested in the name of charity and charity organisations should also be investigated.
“If you take shelter behind Shaukat Khanum’s banner then it will become further controversial,” he said.
The minister accused that when Imran Khan calls for fundraising in the US, he does not differentiate between Shaukat Khanum hospital and his party PTI.
The federal minister said that the government is not running away from accountability and, whoever wants to investigate the corruption scandal, the government is willing to provide details to them in this regard.