Embattled Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is facing graft allegations, today attacked his detractors, saying they are “hiding behind Panama Papers accountability” to oust him. “Since they know they (opponents) cannot defeat me in elections and cannot send us packing through any legitimate means they are hiding behind Panama Papers accountability to oust us,” Sharif said while inaugurating a power plant in Jhang, some 200 km from Lahore. Sharif accused his critics of “playing a game on the pretext of accountability” in the Panama Papers case. “They are conspiring against me. They are always busy in conspiring against my government, be it sit-in politics, rigging charges or Panama case. But let me tell them that I will face their conspiracies,” the 67-year-old leader said. Sharif recently appeared before a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing his and his children’s offshore holdings in the Panama Papers case. His children and brother Shehbaz Sharif have also appeared before the body constituted by the Supreme Court and their statements have been recorded. The JIT will submit its final report to the Supreme Court on Monday.
Sharif also asked Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan “not to hide behind the JIT” to conspire against him and challenged the cricketer-turned-politician to compete with him in elections. “You are conspiring against me to oust me. I ask you face me in the open arena of elections,” he said. Imran, meanwhile, said Sharif will be disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama case. “Nawaz Sharif cannot escape accountability this time,” he told reporters.