LAHORE: Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, who recorded his statement with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with its inquiry into the affairs of Paragon City Housing Scheme here on Wednesday, claimed the “slogan of accountability had some other purpose”.
The joint investigation team of NAB reportedly interrogated the minister for more than two hours for his alleged links with the Paragon society corruption case.
“I replied to the NAB’s queries. I have already submitted details of what I have earned to the Supreme Court and NAB. I never took any plot, commission, quota or loan. Accountability is being carried out against the family of a person who sacrificed a lot for the country,” he said, alleging that the slogan of accountability was often raised with ulterior motives.
“I am being portrayed as the most corrupt politician in the media. Media trial against me and my family has been intensified because the election is just a few months away,” he said and declared that he would appear before NAB if it summoned him again.
Slogan of accountability often raised with ulterior motives, says Saad Rafique
The bureau has summoned Mr Rafique’s brother Punjab Health Minister Khawaja Salman Rafique on Thursday (today) in the same case.
In a thinly veiled reference to the establishment, the minister said: “Calling thief and pulling the strings from behind will do no good to the country. We are making efforts to avoid clash [between institutions]. All of us will be losers in case there’s a clash…. Let the people decide who has to rule.”
Mr Rafique said he had worked hard to deliver in his ministry and reinvigorated the railways. But he said he could not concentrate on work at present after being falsely implicated in the NAB inquiry.
In response to a question about Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s meeting with Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, the railways minister said: “It was the prime minister’s initiative and the CJ showed graciousness. It is a good sign that the heads of the constitutional institutions are meeting. But the meeting was not about getting concessions for someone [apparently a reference to Nawaz Sharif].”
Answering another question, Mr Rafique said the NAB’s “law is black”. “I was also not in favour of Saif-ur-Rehman’s accountability bureau,” he claimed.
Hinting at the possible reasons for summons from NAB, he said: “If you are doing politics silently then it is fine, but if you speak up you are a bad boy.”
When asked about the status of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar in his party, Mr Rafique said: “Chaudhry Nisar and PML-N cannot be separated from each other.”
He said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) would be adversely affected by an alliance with the PPP. The minister also said efforts to carve out another PML faction would be of no use.
In response to a question about the possibility of some parliamentarians leaving the PML-N, Mr Rafique simply said: “Those who have made up their mind cannot be stopped [from saying goodbye to the party].”
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2018