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PM Khan should have accepted Bajwa’s resignation: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

Says SAPM is innocent until allegations not proven against him

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 6, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 6, 2020 | Last Updated: 1 year ago

Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Sunday that Prime Minister Imran Khan should have accepted his Special Assistant Asim Saleem Bajwa’s resignation.

“Whether we are satisfied or not is not the issue,” said Abbasi while answering a question on SAMAA TV’s show Sawaal. “He is the prime minister’s special assistant, he had tendered resignation and the prime minister should have accepted it.”

Lieutenant General (retired) Asim Saleem Bajwa, who is also the current chairman of the CPEC Authority, had announced that he would resign as PM Khan’s special assistant on information and broadcasting on September 3. His resignation, however, was not accepted by the prime minister.

His decision to resign came days after FactFocus published a story, claiming that Lt Gen (retired) Bajwa’s family had set up 99 companies in four countries, including a pizza franchise with 133 restaurants.

The website further claimed that his wife is a “shareholder” in at least 86 companies. Of them, 71 were set up in the US, seven in the UAE and four in Canada.

Related: Bajwa to resign as SAPM, will retain CPEC Authority chairmanship

Bajwa rejected the story on his family’s assets as “incorrect” and “false”. In a statement shared on Twitter, Bajwa said all the allegations levelled in the news item were “materially false”.

Abbasi, the former prime minister and PML-N leader, however, believes that Bajwa resigned because he may have felt that he could not continue to work as the special assistant with these allegations against him.

“An allegation is leveled against a person…and he felt he can’t work on his post with those allegations. He resigned,” Abbasi told Amber Shamsi.

The former prime minister said that NAB should investigate the allegations because the accountability watchdog has been running investigations against members of opposition parties.

“He is innocent until the allegations [against him are] are not proven,” said Abbasi. “That’s the rule of justice. It should be applied to me and also to Asim Bajwa sahab.”

Related: Asim Bajwa’s resignation as SAPM not accepted

The former prime minister, who had spent several months in lockup during a corruption inquiry against him, said that NAB’s law applies on Bajwa too because he is now PM Khan’s special assistant.

“NAB says you laundered money. Now, I have to prove that I didn’t do it. Now, NAB should level allegations against Asim Bajwa sahab and then Bajwa sahab will have to prove that the allegations are wrong.”

Is Nawaz Sharif coming back to Pakistan?

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was jailed for corruption in December 2018 for seven years for the second time for corruption in relation to his family’s ownership of steel mills in Saudi Arabia. His first 10-year prison sentence in the Avenfield properties case was suspended by the court.

In November 2019, the government allowed him to leave the country to get medical treatment in London after his health deteriorated. He hasn’t come back since.

Related: Asim Bajwa says FactFocus story on family’s assets ‘incorrect’, ‘false’

The ruling party believes the prime minister has recovered and is participating in politics from London. PM Khan’s party now wants to bring him back to the country.

Abbasi said that the party has advised Nawaz against returning to country without completing his treatment.

He said Nawaz needed three “surgical interventions” but they could not be done due to the coronavirus situation in the UK.

“The PML-N suggested that he come back after getting the treatment,” said Abbasi. He added that the doctors in the UK will decide the dates of his surgeries and he will return to the country once the doctors allow him to.

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