Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan on Tuesday called off Wednesday’s anti-government protest and instead announced celebrations after the Supreme Court ordered a probe against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family over the Panama Papers scandal. PTI chairman Khan had threatened to lockdown the capital on Wednesday by mobilising a million supporters to force Sharif to step down over corruption allegations against him and his family. Khan, 64, said outside his Bani Gala residence here that it time to “celebrate victory and offer thanks”.
“Go home and rest,” cricketer-turned-politician Khan told about 300 supporters who had been camping outside his residence. He asked them to return to Islamabad on Wednesday to celebrate thanksgiving at the Parade Ground in the capital. “I am elated that the investigation into Nawaz Sharif’s (alleged corruption) will begin day after tomorrow,” he said. The Supreme Court had set November 3 as date of hearing in the case.
Three of Sharif’s four children are said to be owners of offshore companies, according to the Panama Papers. Sharif and his family have dismissed the allegations of money laundering and denied any wrongdoing but the opposition is demanding an independent probe.
The announcement to cancel the protest came just hours after party’s spokesman Naeem ul Haq had said that the protest would go ahead as planned. After Khan’s announcement that he would not enforce the lockdown it is expected that the government would lift the roadblocks and clear entry points leading to Islamabad.