Govt, PTI trade barbs over big show on 30th

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  • Information minister accuses PTI chief of misusing public money for political campaign, says Khan using plane of public limited company to spread ‘anarchy’ in country
  • PTI secy general refutes Rashid’s claims, says he paid for Khan’s use of the plane out of his own pocket
  • PTI chief rolls sleeves for ‘decisive rally’ on Nov 30, says he has found new evidence of election rigging

 

As the political warfare between the government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) protesters approaches a ‘decisive battle’ on November 30 in Islamabad, a series of animated accusations from both the sides have been making regular appearances recently.

In a recent jibe at the cricketer-turned-politician, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid accused PTI chief Imran Khan of using public money for his political purposes, while the latter stood his ground Sunday during his party’s rally in Gujranwala, claiming out loud that he has found a new evidence of rigging in the May 2013 General Elections and would hold a press conference before his “decisive rally” on November 30 to expose the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s alleged rigging.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday, the information minister explained his case for Khan’s “illegitimate spending”, saying that Khan was using an aircraft of a Public Limited Company, JDW Sugar Mills, and was also committing a crime by concealing the expenses incurred on the plane.

Rashid said the company’s charter does not state that the company would bear the expenses and that the plane could be used for political purposes. He said the airplane was bought for company interests but was being used for politics.

“I haven’t heard if the majority of shareholders decided to use their airplane for PTI’s political campaign. JDW Sugar Mills is supposed to crush sugar, not the economy of Pakistan. JDW is a public limited company and PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen has only 29.76 percent shares in the company,” he said, adding that using the aircraft for political motives is an “illegal act as per company laws”.

“According to company laws, a public limited company cannot give donations to a political party nor can it contribute money to a political party.”

Moreover, there is no record of the expenses incurred on the plane over the period of two to three years during which Khan has been using the aircraft, he said.

Taking a jibe at the PTI chief, the information minister said that such misuse of funds was being carried out by a person who lectures the public on integrity and uprightness on a daily basis.

Rashid further alleged that the PTI chief paid Rs 0.1 million as income tax last year and asked him to justify his “lavish” lifestyle and travelling expenses in his upcoming speech in Gujranwala.

“What other sources of income do you have?” he asked the PTI chief. “You’re travelling on stolen money.”

TAREEN REJECTS RASHID’S CLAIMS:

Soon after the press conference, PTI secretary general was quick to refute the information minister’s allegations, saying, “Whenever Khan has travelled in the plane, I have paid all the expenses myself. I have all the documents since the day he has started using the aircraft.”

Tareen added that as long as he was paying for Khan’s travel expenses, it should not be an issue to anyone as it was a matter between him and his party chief. Accusing Rashid of “blatantly lying”, Tareen said that he will resolve the issue within the legal ambit.

When asked that why the PTI chairman did not use commercial flights meant for the public, the secretary general said, “We wanted to reach Larkana at the time of Khan’s speech in the rally, and then he had to go back to attend the Islamabad sit-in. There were no flights then; would PIA run flights as per Khan’s wish?”

KHAN IS IN FOR A DECISIVE BATTLE:

In the meanwhile, taking his share of jibes at the government during a mammoth gathering in Gujranwala, Khan said that PTI will either approach the Supreme Court or the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) after they hold a press conference to expose election rigging.

Khan said his “decisive rally” in the federal capital on November 30 would determine whether the government would remain in power or a “Naya Pakistan” would be formed.

“The whole nation is now demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation. Nawaz will leave no stone unturned to save his rule,” said Khan but vowed to continue the protests in Islamabad till PM Sharif resigned.

“I am not going to leave the sit-in until Sharif resigns,” and warned the premier and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan not to disrupt PTI’s “peaceful” protest as “this time Khan is ready to compete”.

Khan also censured Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari. “Zardari and Sharif have joined hands to save this corrupt and tyrant system,” he alleged and added that the people of Sindh had shown in PTI’s Larkana rally that they were ready for “change”.

Khan said it was time for the people to join PTI and change their destiny.

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