ISLAMABAD (HRNW) – Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar on Saturday made it clear that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan cannot address the nation on Pakistan Television (PTV), Dunya News reported.“It is only privilege of the President or Prime Minister of a country to address the nation through state television,” Ch Nisar told reporters in Kallar Syedan.He said that no opposition leader has ever addressed the nation through state TV in the history of the world.“He (Imran Khan) is not even an opposition leader. His party has only 30 seats or so in the National Assembly,” the minister said.To a question regarding probe into Panama Papers, Chaudhry Nisar said that he is ready to get the matter investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Imran Khan can suggest name of any FIA officer of his choice.He said the matter of formation of the high-level judicial inquiry commission announced by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the wake of the Panama Papers leaks is still pending as two former members of the superior judiciary have refused to take up the task due to opposition party’s ridiculous attitude.He said that opposition parties should sit and talk to the government if they want to take the matter to its logical conclusion.
In a letter written to Imran Gardezi, the Secretary Information and Acting Managing Director of Pakistan Television Netowkr (PTV), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf demanded to make arrangements for Imran Khan’s address to nation on Sunday at 6 pm.
“To defend his case, the Prime Minister of Pakistan used the Pakistan Television on 5th of April to address the nation regarding the Panama Leaks and tried his best to explain his personal and his family’s position on the matter,” the letter states.
It further says: “You are well of the fact that the Pakistan Television Network, being the largest terrestrial television network of the country runs solely on tax-prayers money which makes PTV television network of each and every Pakistani citizen.”
“Unfortunately, since the panama leaks have come to the fore, the Prime Minister, the Information Minister and various MNA’s of the ruling PML-N have used PTV to spread disinformation amongst the masses regarding Shaukat Khanum Hospital. That tantamounts to using network for political/personal interest rather than state/government interest,” the party said.
“It is therefore the right of honorable Chairman PTI, Mr. Imran Khan to also address the masses via PTV’s network to respond to the baseless allegations on Shaukat Khanum and explain his position on the Panama Leaks,” it added.
Responding to PTI’s request, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said that only President and Prime Minister can address the nation through state television.
Imran Khan was given enough time in the National Assembly to speak on the matter, he added.
On April 5, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed the nation by television to defend his family’s business practices, denying any wrongdoing and calling corruption claims “old accusations repeated over and over again”.
Nawaz Sharif set up a commission to investigate allegations, based on leaked documents from Panama, that offshore companies headed by members of his family were avoiding paying taxes or disguising assets and their origins.
On Monday, leaked documents from the Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm showed that Sharif’s daughter Mariam and sons Hussain and Hassan owned at least three offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands. Mossack Fonseca denied any wrongdoing.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists said these companies were involved in the purchase and mortgage of at least $13.8 million in UK properties.
One of the holding companies also purchased another, Liberia-based, holding company for $11.2 million in August 2007, according to the documents.
The documents do not show the source of the assets held by the holding companies. They are part of a tranche of 11.5 million documents leaked by the ICIJ, dubbed the ‘Panama Papers’.
Political opponents, notably Imran Khan, have accused Sharif’s family of having gained the funds illegally through corruption during his two previous stints as prime minister in the 1990s.
Sharif and his family have denied any wrongdoing, saying the assets were gained legally, mainly through the family’s network of businesses and industries in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.