- Abbasi says ex-PM has full right to defend himself
- ‘I have no offshore company or offshore asset but I think making offshore companies not illegal’
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had full right to defend himself before the full bench of the Supreme Court in a review petition, seeking reversal of an earlier disqualification order by a five-judge bench.
He said that though the government had fully implemented the apex court’s verdict but the people from different sections of the society had not accepted it. Even various political parties and people with unbiased approach had also raised their concerns, he said in an interview with Nadeem Malik, host of a SAMAA TV talk show.
The prime minister said that the Supreme Court had the responsibility to decide the review petition as among other pending cases, it had treated that case as a special one. The Supreme Court itself became a prosecutor in the case, he said in reply to a query. He said that the PML-N government had completely implemented it.
To another question about resident visa issue, he said that Nawaz Sharif had acquired the visa when he was not a prime minister and was in exile. He was declared disqualified for not accepting salary from his son’s company and not declaring it as his asset, he added.
He said that the Dubai government had issued millions of residents visas and those were for a specific period. There was no law in Pakistan to bar acquiring such facility, he explained. He said that the verdict could not be applied to all.
He further said that he wanted the parliament to examine the issue of Articles 62 and 63 of the constitution as there were a lot of ambiguities in their implementation with varying interpretations. “A clarity is required on the issue. A thing in the constitution, which could not be implemented due to its ambiguities, must be clarified. But it requires consensus among the stakeholders,” he added.
Referring to the vagueness in the constitutional articles, he said such obscurity or clerical mistake could put a person in jeopardy. He cited the disqualification of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif by saying that the aforementioned article was invoked for not withdrawing salary from his son’s company.
He said that the constitution was a living document and it could be amended in view of the changing requirements. To a query, Abbasi said that he was nominated for the prime minister’s office under a party leadership’s decision.
Today PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif had announced that he would serve for the remaining term in the office, he said, adding that the elections would be held in the next June, when would decide through their votes. Explaining his plans over broadening of tax net, the prime minister said paying taxes was an obligation all over the globe.
The people who were not paying taxes could be detected by linking their utility bills, income and properties with their CNIC numbers, he explained and said those who were not paying taxes would be required to explain their lifestyle and income. However, he agreed that tax rates in the country were high which required a review to encourage people to pay taxes.
The prime minister said a large number of people had foreign income and assets, but they did not declare them. He cited the example of investments made in Dubai real estate market in which various methods for flight of capital were used and said it also required probe.
He said that making offshore companies was not illegal and reiterated that he did not possess any offshore company, neither he had any offshore asset. He said the world was going to find solution to the issue of offshore companies. Directors of all the companies should be made to declare such offshore companies, he said.
Responding to another question, he said that Nawaz Sharif would remain leader and head of the PML-N supporters and party. He said decision for fielding a candidate in NA-120 Lahore would be taken soon. About political opponents’ claims regarding rift in the Sharif family, the prime minister said certain elements wished a bad blood between brothers which never existed.
The prime minister while explaining main targets of his government, said concentration would be given to the economic growth, besides previous development and fiscal policies would also continue. The PML-N government had delivered in the past and it would do so in the future, he said and added social sector would also be target of his government.
About civil-military relationships and his meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the prime minister said it was a routine meeting and they all work collectively for development of the country. About the Afghan and Indian policy of the present government, he said that first of all, they would have to maintain their sovereignty, adding that until the Kashmir issue was not resolved relations with India could not be improved.
To a question about emergence of ISIS or DAESH at Pak-Afghan border, the prime minister said there was an impression, adding that he had talked about the issue with the Afghan president during his recent conversations. Military sides of the two countries were also in touch on it, he added.
About restoration of peace in Karachi, he said it was a difficult initiative but only with consensus of all the stockholders, law and order had been restored in the port city. He said it was a continuous process and the government would address various problems of the city.
He said water problem, Liyari expressway, circular railways and linking the port city with Hyderabad and rest of the country were priority areas of the present government. About NAB laws, he said every political government was afraid of touching the subject, opining that NAB law was against basic principles of justice.
He said the NAB was made by a dictator to divide the political parties, adding that it was always used against the PML-N. He said that there was a need to change the NAB law but consensus should be built on it.