Rehman Malik denies covert deal with PM on Panama Papers case

152

ISLAMABAD: Asserting that no deal had been reached between the prime minister and Pakistan Peoples Party leader Asif Ali Zardari over the Panama Papers case, former interior minister Rehman Malik has said he will speak the truth before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing money laundering allegations against Nawaz Sharif on Friday (tomorrow).

“I will say what the law and the documents available with me say,” he told a press conference after cutting a cake to mark the 64th birth anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto at a ceremony here on Wednesday.

Mr Malik said he was out of the country when he received JIT summons for June 13 on June 11. He told the JIT that it was not possible for him to appear before it on June 13 and sought a new date. He is now supposed to appear before the team on June 23.

He refused to divulge what he would say and present to the JIT, but said he would not disappoint the nation and that he would follow the principle of merit.

ADVERTISEMENT

He said he would appear before the JIT in his capacity as a former additional director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Says PPP has decided not to politicise the issue

He said he was examining a copy of the report on money laundering investigation submitted to the then president.

Answering a question about audio video recording of interrogation proceedings by the JIT, he said it was not permissible for evidence un­der the law. He will raise the issue when he will go to the JIT to record his statement.

The Pakistan People’s Party leader said his party had decided not to politicise the issue. He regretted the criticism against him from some Pakistan Muslim League-N leaders and said he had also been accused of being among the people named in the Panama Papers. He challenged that he would resign if the allegation was proved.

As it was a private matter, he said, Prime Minister Sharif, his family members and lawyers should come forth and PML-N leaders should be stopped from making attempts to defend the PM.

Answering a question, Mr Malik said he had not carried out any private inquiry into the money laundering allegations (against Mr Sharif) and said all had been done through official channels.

About the claims of Inam Sehri, a former FIA official, that he had conducted an inquiry into the matter and had concrete evidence about the money trail of the Sharif family, he said Mr Sehri was not part of the team which had conducted the inquiry. However, if he has any proof, he should submit it to the JIT.

Mr Malik said he was ready to finance the JIT’s visit to the United Kingdom to interrogate Mr Sehri if he felt he would be insecure if he came to Pakistan.

He said many inquiries had been conducted (into money laundry allegations against Mr Sharif) and five of them had been converted into FIRs.

Asked about the status of the charter of democracy, he lamented that agreements were signed in Pakistan to be broken. He said Mr Zardari tried to give a new lease of life to the charter during the days of (the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s) ‘sit-in’ as democracy was under threat at that time. “Somebody was trying to become an umpire, but this attempt was foiled due to the political maturity of the PPP leadership,” he added.

Benazir murder case
Mr Malik appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to personally supervise the Benazir Bhutto murder case as it had not been decided even after the passage of seven years.

He said many of the handlers and conspirators had been arrested in the case and the challan submitted but the decision was still awaited.

He said day-to-day hearings should be held to decide the case at the earliest.

He lamented that the judge of the trial court was frequently changed.

Likewise, he said a reference seeking declaration of former prime minister Zulfi­kar Ali Bhutto’s execution a judicial murder had also not been decided yet. He alleged that the PPP had always been subjected to injustice.