Punjab PPP President Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo has accused Shahbaz Sharif for coercing businessmen, industrialists and the traders’ community of Lahore and making them to pay extortion of millions of rupees under the garb of ‘fund raising’ for the election campaign of the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz.
Wattoo said that dozens of leading industrialists, traders and businessmen from Lahore complained that they have been made to pay millions of rupees by the ‘goons’ of Shahbaz Sharif on the heels of the general elections. Wattoo said the introduction of this element in electoral politics by Nawaz Sharif was fraught with dangers to democracy and therefore the Supreme Court of Pakistan as well as the Election Commission of Pakistan should take immediate notice of this ‘wrongdoing’ on the part of Shahbaz and investigate the matter. He alleged that the Sharif brothers were well known for leading a luxurious life at the expense of the tax payers’ money and this trend should now be discouraged by the Election Commission.
Mian Manzoor Wattoo said the ECP took a courageous and equally appreciable decision by instructing the caretaker Punjab government to withdraw over 750 Punjab policemen who were deployed to provide security to the Sharif brothers as well as their extended family in Lahore at the cost of over Rs 20 million per month. Wattoo maintained that their official entitlement as the former prime minister and the former chief minister was merely 20 security personnel but they continued to keep hundreds of policemen and more than 50 official vehicles for their protocol at their private residences in a sheer violation of the laid down rules and regulations. He said while the Sharifs were enjoying massive security at the state expense, the Lahorites were faced with an acute sense of insecurity.
Mian Manzoor Wattoo urged the Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Najam Sethi to direct the police to immediately implement the ECP instructions regarding withdrawal of the hundreds of security men and deploy them to provide security to the businessmen and traders to save them from the intimidation and coercion of the Sharifs. Wattoo referred to a media report in which the Punjab inspector general of police had expressed his reluctance to withdraw the security men deployed for the security of the Sharif brothers despite the clear-cut instructions of the ECP. He pointed out that delay in the implementation of the instructions of ECP regarding the humble security cover provided to former Sindh chief minister in accordance with the provincial law, triggered the administrative action against those officers who were held responsible. He hoped that similar action will be taken against those who were delaying the implementation of the orders of the ECP.