Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday called an emergency cabinet meeting in order to strategise a counter to the Panama papers probe panel’s report that recommends the filing of a graft case against Sharif and his family.
This comes as a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa said that over 70 lawmakers, who were in contact with him, were ready to quit depending upon how the narrative in the case goes.
Sources close to Nawaz Sharif said that the PM was adamant that he did not want to resign or dissolve the assembly ‘at any cost’.
Sources have also said that the allegations of non-cooperation with the Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) were baseless and that the PM wants to challenge the report in the Supreme Court. Senior members of the party are in close consultation with the PM on the JIT report and want him to continue as there are no direct allegations against him.
Currently there are three options with Sharif – Resign and appoint a new PM. Dissolve the assembly and allow a caretaker government to handle affairs for the three months preceding the elections. To move and stay in some other country to weather the storm.
Earlier on July 7, Nawaz sought the postponement of his scheduled Australia visit. The delay comes after the advice of Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua against the Australian Foreign Minister referring to Pakistan as state sponsor of terrorism.
The six-member JIT that probed the Sharif family's business dealings in its 10-volume report submitted to the apex court on July 10 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.
The decision to convene the Cabinet was taken during an "informal meeting" at the Prime Minister's house, attended by members of Sharif's Cabinet and his legal team, including Attorney General Ashtar Ausaf Ali.
All major opposition political parties have asked him to step down and stay away from power until his name was cleared.
However, Sharif is not ready to quit and his daughter Maryam confirmed it in a tweet. "Insh'Allah he won't resign because not a single allegation of misuse of public money during five tenures in power has been proven against him," she tweeted.