LAHORE: The Panama Papers have no legal value, claimedÂ Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Sunday.
Addressing a party event in Lahore, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader said âOnly in Pakistan these documents were taken seriously, where an elected prime minister and his family were dragged into cases".
âNo evidence of money laundering has been provided in the Panama case. Despite our reservations we continue to appear before the JIT,â he said.
âThey [JIT] tap phones but no one asks them if thatâs legal,â he said, adding that they have now started calling [our] daughters as well.
He was likely referring to the summoning of prime minister's daughter Maryam Nawaz by the JIT on July 5.
âThey donât explain who leaked Hussain Nawazâs picture and made the WhatsApp calls,â claimed Rafique.
No one should make popular decisions, be it politicians, the government or [state] institutions, he said but assured that "nevertheless, our heads will continue to bow down in front of the courts". Â
He said that the government has been under attack since it was formed four years ago. When the sit-in [by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 2014] failed, we were expecting another assault, which came in the form of Panama Papers, he claimed.
When we came into power the country was in a terrible state but we restored institutions and the situation improved, he added.
He said the government will continue to work for the people regardless of the hurdles put in their path.
âNo matter what they say, we will focus on our agenda,â he said.
Prime ministers of the country were repeatedly sent packing through martial laws and 'doctrines of necessity', he recalled.Â
The minister also came down hard on TV talk show hosts, saying some âjournalistsâ were biased in their coverage of the government while those who stand with democracy are dubbed traitors.
He lashed out at the âenemiesâ of Pakistan, who are bent on destroying the country by targeting its institutions and economy.Â
"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was threatened with sanctions when Pakistan was becoming an atomic power in 1998 but he went on with it despite the threats by world powers," he said.Â
He pleaded that democracy and political parties should be left alone to flourish as that is what is in the best interest of the country.Â
"We should all worry about Pakistan as protecting democracy isnât just the job of political parties and the civilian government but also the media, judiciary and parliament," he added.
He also criticised the recent inclusion of 'turncoats' in the PTI. Rafique also lashed out at Awami Muslim League leader MNA Sheikh Rasheed, without naming the former PML-N member, who is set to join the PTI.Â
"Benazir Bhutto's martyrdom hurt us as well as it removed a formidable opposition leader," he said, adding that a big leader can't compete with a dwarf. Â Â