Aug 11

Imran Khan’s wild and baseless allegations: rejoinder by Najam Sethi

Posted on Monday, August 11, 2014 in Rejoinder

Lahore: Imran Khan has once again levelled false allegations against me in a press conference on 11th August 2014.

He has many times accused me of applying “35 punctures”, implying that as CM Punjab I helped rig 35 seats. Yet he has never given any proof of this. I have sent him a legal notice but he has not defended himself. I have now filed a civil suit for defamation against him and the court in Lahore has summoned him on 23rd August to answer the charges. Apart from this, the FAFEN report refers to 35 constituencies ACROSS Pakistan out of which only 15 are in Punjab out of which the PTI lost only 7. This means he is accusing me of running all of Pakistan in the interim period!!

Imran Khan has now alleged that the sweeping changes in the Punjab administration that were effected during the my Punjab caretaker period were a “sham” because I did not change four secretaries in the administration. The fact is that I changed everyone from SHOs and Patwaris to Secretaries, including  28 out of about 30 secretaries. I did not change the Education Secretary because I did not want to disrupt a multi-million dollar UK Education Aid program earmarked for Punjab province. I did not change the Home Secretary because the Home Minister Tariq Pervez recommended him as an upright and efficient officer. I did not change the Health Secretary, despite objections from the PMLN that his real sister was contesting on a PTI ticket from a Lahore constituency, because he was handling the Measles epidemic in the province and I didn’t want any disruption in the effort. I didn’t change the Finance Secretary because the the new chief secretary Javed Iqbal, a Pashtun, whom I brought in from Islamabad, recommended him as an honest and efficient officer, despite the fact that his brother-in-law was contesting on a PTI ticket!

The curious fact is that on the one hand Imran Khan has praised Javed Iqbal, my caretaker chief secretary, and Rao Iftikhar, my caretaker additional chief secretary, of Punjab as honest and good officers. But on the other hand he says that they and I somehow helped rig the elections. In the same breath, he says the elections were rigged by ROs under the control of the EC, and not caretaker Punjab govt.

Imran Khan should admit that at every stage of the caretaker administration I responded to his complaints and he praised me for my neutrality. In fact, I specifically changed the CS Punjab Chaudhry Qamar Zaman nominated by the Election Commission at Imran khan’s request and replaced him by Javed Iqbal, a move which he publickly praised.

Finally Imran Khan has accused Nawaz Sharif of “rewarding” me by giving me the PCB’s chairmanship.  The fact is the PCB job was a punishment because I did not receive a paisa in salary and even returned the car allowance given to me. I have given a year of my life in public service without any personal “reward”. That is why I cannot condone Imran Khan’s delusions about the PCB.

Imran Khan also accused me of getting a tax write-off from the government. But the truth is that not a paisa of tax has been written off or waived by the FBR in my case. In fact, I remain the highest tax payer in all media in Pakistan.

I am now suing Imran Khan for these false allegations and outright lies that have hurt my reputation and credibility.

Imran Khan has three personal problems with me. First, he is angry at a humourous column about him that is being published in my paper The Friday Times for the last decade or so. It is called “I’m the Dim”. Second, he is angry at me for the ouster of Zaka Ashraf, ex-PCB chairman, because of the vested interests of PTI core committee member Shafqat Mahmud, whose sister is married to Zaka Ashraf. Third, he is angry at Jang/GEO for supporting ex-CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry, and since I work for Jang/GEO he has tried to kill two birds with one stone.

The fact is that it suits Imran Khan to try and sell a conspiracy to himself and to his supporters both of whom he disappointed on May 2013 Elections. Khan would rather have others believe that the elections were stolen from him rather than admitting he lost. This doesn’t mean that the usual run of irregularities and election malpractises on an individual level in 2013 didn’t take place. It is also a fact that, even though international election monitoring missions confirm 2013 elections were better than the past, Elections Reforms are a must for moving forward in a progressive democratic Pakistan.