Panamagate: Sharif family offered Rs 10 billion to keep silent, claims Imran Khan

Pakistan: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan has sensationally claimed that he was offered Rs 10 billion by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to stay silent over the Panama leaks issue, a charge denied by the government. Imran, however, made it clear that Sharif directly did not offer him the money but the offer came from him.

Khan told ARY News that it was one of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s friends who offered him Rs 10 billion to stay silent over the Panama leaks issue. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief said that the man met him about two weeks ago and informed him that he was given the task.

“He came to see me about two weeks ago and told me about the offer. Let me tell you that the Sharif family had even made him a very good offer and promised to ‘entertain’ him if he could convince me,” the 64-year-old cricketer-turned- politician claimed.

“This Rs 10 billion was just a starting point; if I had showed some flexibility, they could have offered me more than that,” he was quoted as saying. Chief Minister Shahbaz dismissed Khan’s claim. “Imran Khan has made a record of lying,” said Sharif at an event in Lahore. “I have the right to take this up in the court of law,” he was quoted as saying by Geo News.

Responding to the allegations, State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, at a press conference, said, “He (Imran) is a juggler; he started with the slogan of election rigging, moved on to the phrase that an umpire is set to raise his finger, and has now resorted to criticising all state institutions, including the Election Commission and judges of the apex court.” She also dubbed Khan “a liar” for making the Rs 10 billion claim.

Slamming Khan for making the allegation, Sharif’s daughter Maryam tweeted, “‘Shahbaz Sharif’s close aide offered me 10 billion. No, Hamza’s friend made an offer to my friend in Dubai.’

I fear for this man’s Hereafter!” Sharif last week got a temporary breather from the Supreme Court which said there was “insufficient evidence” to remove him from office but ordered setting up of a joint team to investigate the graft allegations against his family.

The high-profile graft case is about alleged money laundering by Sharif in 1990s when he twice served as the Prime Minister to purchase assets in London. The assets surfaced when Panama papers last year showed that they were managed through offshore companies owned by Sharif’s children.