Imran sees collusion in Zardari’s acquittal in corruption reference

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan on Sunday alleged that the acquittal of former president Asif Ali Zardari in the last pending corruption reference against him was a result of collusion.

Addressing a press conference, he said: “What else should we expect if major parties appoint the chairman of NAB (National Accountability Bureau)?”

The PTI leader said he trusted neither the institution nor its prosecution. The only thing he could trust was proceedings under or monitored by the Supreme Court, he added.

He said Mr Zardari was on record having denied and then admitted owning the Surrey Palace and money in Swiss accounts. How could he be given a clean chit, he wondered, adding that the only possibility was politics of accommodation that both major political parties of the country had been practising.

PTI chief wants permission to take part in by-poll campaign

Mr Khan said that coming by-elections for the National Assembly seat vacated after the disqualification of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was a defining event, which would set the direction for the country — whether the law was supreme or the people wanted to be ruled by “the same dacoits”.

He said the rule of law had claimed a big scalp in Mr Sharif’s ouster and the PTI had sown renewed consciousness among the masses, thus Sept 17, the polling day for the by-poll in NA-120, would define which way the country would go.

He urged the Election Commission to let him campaign for his party’s candidate. “I am simply the party chairman, without any official portfolio. Why should I be debarred from the campaigning?

“Neither me nor PTI MNAs are allowed to participate in the campaign. On the other hand, the entire state machinery is involved in the election. Maryam Nawaz Sharif is occupying the Chief Minister House and all PML-N ministers and parliamentarians in Lahore are participating in the campaign against the PTI. The Election Commission should take note of the situation,” he demanded.

“Our party’s workers, especially women, are being harassed. The party holds the inspector general of police directly responsible for the protection of political workers. If he fails in his duty, the party will take him to the court,” he said.

He said the ousted prime minister had been controlling all state institutions. “Now, the Supreme Court and the joint investigation team, growing out of that control, have given a verdict against him. This very decision is taken by Nawaz Sharif as a conspiracy. ‘How could state institutions go against me?’ That is the crux of the conspiracy for him.”