*ISLAMABAD: *Former interior minister and senior leader of the ruling PML-N Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has claimed that he was against the inclusion of armed forces officials in the JIT that investigated the Panama Papers cases against former premier Mian Nawaz Sharif.
During a talk with leading Daily on Tuesday, he said when JIT was being formed, he had asked Sharif to meet with the army chief to discuss the formation of the JIT and ask him to withdraw army officers from the team.
However, he said this meeting never went ahead despite the former premier voicing his agreement with Nisar.
He said this basic mistake allowed a lot of controversies to be generated later. “JITs are formed and cases are heard as a routine matter, but this basic decision actually worsened the situation and institutions are heading now towards a clash,” Nisar stated.
“It is said that a stitch in time saves nine. A stitch at that time would have helped keep the situation from becoming what it is at the moment,” he stated.
Nisar also said that it was his strong opinion that Sharif, as PM, should not appear before the JIT. “I was of the view that he should address the nation and clarify that as a common citizen, he is accountable to any court of Pakistan, but as the PM his appearance before grade-19 and 20 officers is an affront to the authority and dignity of his office,” Khan further stated. He said contrary to his suggestion, Sharif decided to appear before the JIT.
Nisar also said that there is no option available other than holding elections on time. He said Pakistan is already facing a number of issues and if there is a delay in the elections, problems would multiply. “I don’t rule out a minor delay in the process due to legal or administrative issues, but no other option is available other than to hold the elections,” he stated.