LAHORE  -    Responding to the allegations levelled by Hamza Shehbaz Sharif against the PTI government, spokespersons to the Prime Minister and Punjab Chief Minister on Friday said that NAB was an independent and autonomous body and the government had nothing to do with its affairs.

Addressing a joint news conference at 90-SQA, Nadeem Afzal Chan and Dr Shahbaz Gill said that Hamza Shehbaz should have presented himself for arrest on moral grounds.

“Being the Opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, he should be a role model for the people rather than interfering in the government affairs”, they said, also accusing him of torturing the NAB team and showing hooliganism.

Chairman Punjab Social Protection Authority Ali Asjad Malhi was also present on the occasion.

They said that Ishaq Dar, Suleman Shehbaz, Hassan, Hussain and others in the family of Hamza Shehbaz were all absconders and they could not be trusted because befooling the people was the modus operandi of the remnants of Zia ul Haq.

They further stated that Hamza was waiting for his turn, during their heyday in the power but they will have to be answerable for the money looted by them now.  Nadeem Afzal Chan said that Sharif family was unnerved like a fish out of the water after they were thrown out of the power corridors.

They said that accountability of the elite was not properly held in Pakistan as police and the system had been used for political purposes in the past.

They stated that all were equal before the law.

“Country needs economic reforms. We are ready or an economic charter with them but they will have to be answerable for the money looted by them. They praise the decision of Hudabia Paper Mill which was in their favour but criticise the institutions when they decide against them”, the spokespersons stated.

Nadeem Afzal Chan said that PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan was already in the custody of NAB and Babar Awan was also facing the reference. Similarly, he added, Speaker Sindh Assembly had been arrested by the NAB and the Supreme Court had given full authority to the anti-graft body to arrest the accused without any notice.

Dr. Shahbaz Gill said that NAB action had no connection with the government.

He also condemned torturing of NAB team by Hamza Shehbaz and issuing life threats to them.

He said that Punjab police was not part of this operation.

“Had there been the Punjab police, such sort of hooliganism would have not happened.” he said, adding, that Hamza Shehbaz was not such a (big) personality which could not be arrested. He said that 85 per cent increase had been noticed in the assets of Hamza Shehbaz from 2003 till now.  He said that Hamza was facing allegations of money laundering and keeping assets beyond means.

Dr. Shahbaz Gill said that police was used for political purposes in the past and Sharif family and Zardari will have to be answerable for their looted money.

Nadeem Chan said that Prime Minister Imran Khan did not believe in the politics of revenge.

“No case was registered against them in the PTI tenure and all the cases were made during the past governments”, he said.

Replying to a question about giving Chief Minister’s powers to the spokesman to Punjab CM, Nadeem Afzal Chan said that nobody could issue one’s own notification nor anyone could be given the powers of the Chief Minister. He dismissed all such reports as mere propaganda.