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Nawaz Sharif dismisses calls to step down

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Islamabad, July 13 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday rejected calls for his resignation at an emergency Cabinet meeting to chart out a counter to the Panamagate probe panel’s report that recommended the filing of a graft case against Sharif and his family.

Addressing the Cabinet members, Sharif termed the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report a “concoction of allegations and stories” regarding his family’s private businesses, Geo News reported.

“Without any hesitation I presented myself and family before the JIT,” the Prime Minister said, adding that his family business predates the entry of any family member into politics.

“My family didn’t earn anything from politics but did lose a lot,” Sharif said, adding that despite reservations he accepted the formation of the JIT to probe allegations of money laundering against him and his family.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader said that the language used in the JIT report displayed “malafide intentions”, Dawn newspaper reported.

Pointing to the opposition parties who were demanding his resignation following the release of the JIT report, Sharif said that the PML-N had bagged more votes than those of the opposition parties combined.

“Those demanding my resignation on false and unwarranted claims should first look at themselves,” said Sharif. He said he will not let the country’s development become a “target of conspiracies”.

“The people of Pakistan have elected me and only they can remove me from this post,” Sharif said.

The members of the meeting agreed that there’s no legitimacy to the demands for Sharif’s resignation and expressed their complete support in him, said the report.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan expressed the hope that Sharif will be exonerated.

“We are not one to be worried as we have faced such difficulties before with the people’s help,” said Khawaja Asif, Minister for Water and Power and Defence.

Several projects related to power generation and other economic initiatives of the government were also discussed in the meeting.

On Wednesday, Sharif presided over an informal consultative meeting where he was briefed by legal and constitutional experts regarding the preparations of the government’s stance on the JIT report, Geo News reported.

The JIT in its 10-volume report submitted to the apex court earlier this week recommended that a corruption case should be filed against Sharif and his sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, as well as daughter Maryam Nawaz, under the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) ordinance 1999.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif had on Wednesday expressed the party’s resolve in a tweet that Sharif will not step down.

“Insh’Allah he won’t resign. Should Nawaz Sharif resign because not a single allegation of misuse of public money has been proven against him?” she said.

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