LAHORE – While rejecting the allegations of loans’ default against the Sharif family, former Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif on Friday challenged the NAB to prove the charges within 24 hours or be ready to face the defamation law.

He also sought an apology from the NAB in case if fails to establish the charges.

“Seeing victory of the PML-N and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in the next elections, a negative and malicious propaganda has been unleashed against them,” Shahbaz told the media here on Friday.

Flanked by Raja Zafarul Haq, Muhammad Ishaq Dar and other leaders of the party, he said that char ka tola (a gang of four) was active behind this disgusting game against them but they would never succeed.

Replying to a question, Shahbaz did not rule out the possibility of President Zardari’s involvement into the malicious campaign. “I would also include the Presidency among the ‘gang of four’,” he said.  

While rejecting the NAB allegations against Sharif family in toto, Shahbaz distributed among the mediamen copies of the certificates issue by State Bank of Pakistan and the superior court’s decisions to prove that they were neither defaulters of a penny nor convicted by the courts in plane hijacking or any other case.

“If a loan default of even a single penny is established against them, he would quit politics for good,” he challenged.

He said the Supreme Court had quashed conviction of Nawaz Sharif in hijacking case while terming Pervez Musharraf usurper and initiation of case by him against Nawaz Sharif illegal.

Shahbaz charged the NAB for overstepping authority by putting their names among the loan defaulters and said it was domain of the State Bank only to declare one defaulter.

In the same breath, he posed a query to the NAB that why did it not lay hand on the corrupt in NICL scam, Rental Power Plants, Ogra case and others and why did it not pursue the case of $60 million stashed by Zardari in banks abroad.

He clarified that they had repaid the double of what they owed to the banks ‘on high moral ground’ in 1998. He said their party had contested elections in 2002 and 2008 which the former dictator Musharaf would not have allowed, had they been the loan defaulters. He asked the NAB to bring proofs of the default and get them convicted within 24 hours if it had least of morality. Otherwise, he added, it must contradict the allegations, withdraw them, and apologise from them and the nation or they would sue it for defamation.

To a question, Shahbaz Sharif said that election was the right of people and any attempt against them would be thwarted by his party.

Answering another question, he also urged the care taker prime minister and the Election Commission not to play the role of a silent spectator on the issue. He asked the caretakers to hold investigation into the charges levelled against PML-N leadership to lend credibility to the election process.

He said the caretaker prime minister will be suspected of acting in league with Asif Ali Zardari against the PML-N if he failed to act against the NAB on this issue and it will also cast deep shadows on the fairness of elections.

“Nawaz Sharif and himself have been holding consistent stand on not sparing the loan defaulters and awarding them exemplary punishment”, he said while counting their moral victory that the Election Commission had honoured their demand and put a column in the nomination papers to this effect.