‘Certified thief’: PM Shehbaz castigates Imran after disqualification in Toshakhana case

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday castigated PTI Chairman Imran Khan, calling him a “certified thief” after the latter’s disqualification in the Toshakhana reference for making “false statements and incorrect declaration”.

He expressed the views while addressing a news conference in Lahore alongside Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and adviser Attaullah Tarar.

Commenting on Imran’s disqualification, PM Shehbaz said that his predecessor had been proven to be a “certified liar and a thief”. However, he cautioned that this was not a moment of happiness, but one of “reflection”.

He alleged that Imran came into power after the “worst rigging”, adding that the PTI chief auctioned off state gifts after claiming the proceeds would go to the treasury.

“The nation would have saluted you if you had deposited money from selling state gifts in the treasury. I would’ve too despite being your political opponent,” he said, adding that Imran had disrespected Pakistan.

Comparing himself to Imran, PM Shehbaz said that he had once told a court that he received a letter from the Cabinet Division about being able to buy a state gift after paying a certain amount.

“I answered back to the letter saying, ‘No, thank you’ and deposited [the gift] in the Toshakhana.”

He said that state gifts were now being displayed at the Prime Minister House to dispel the impression that they go missing. “Now, I have them [displayed] in PM House so the people know who sold the gifts and pocketed the money.”

PM Shehbaz said that disrespecting the country in this manner was a “very serious thing”. There is nothing worse than a prime minister selling state gifts without having them valued and pocketing the cash, he said.

He went on to say that the person accusing others of being a thief had today been proven a “certified thief”.

The prime minister alleged that Imran’s Banigala residence was constructed in violation of rules and regulations, which the PTI chief later regularised. “But he then went to Raiwind to demolish my mother’s home. This is the [extent] of his revenge.”

The premier also took exception to the assertion by PTI leaders that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif had “written” the electoral watchdog’s verdict against Imran. By that argument, did Imran pen the decision which led to Nawaz’s disqualification, he questioned.