ISLAMABAD - Apparently avoiding to further resort to street agitation over Panama leaks, PTI Thursday in a low posture demanded resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying the Premier had lost the moral authority to govern the country after the verdict.

PTI, while paying tributes to all five judges of the apex court for authoring a historical judgment, also showed suspicions on the composition of the proposed Joint Investigation Committee (JIT) that will be formed in the light of the SC judgment.

At a time when the ruling party started celebrating the verdict that stopped short of disqualifying the Prime Minister for allegedly having offshore wealth, PTI leadership also gave the same impression that the verdict was their victory as well.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan made the demand of PM’s resignation while addressing a press conference at his residence in Bani Gala following the announcement of the judgment and a meeting of the senior party leadership. Imran said he did not expect more than that of this judgment.

“At least PM should step down for 60 days as long as JIT does not complete its investigations,” he said and questioned what moral authority the PM had to stay on his position after the judgment. Mocking the PM, he said, Nawaz would face the criminal investigations like Uzair Baloch, the leader of banned Peoples Aman Committee was facing — a statement that was first given by Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed of Awami Muslim League soon after the verdict.

At the same time, PTI chief also showed his suspicions over the composition of the JIT asked by the five member bench for investigation into the money scandal. “All members of the JIT, except two from the military’s intelligence agencies, are from the institutions working under the Prime Minister, then how they would investigate while Nawaz would remain in his office,” he said. Giving the reason, he said that PM would not let them work independently unless he quits his post.

“I pay tribute to the judges of the Supreme Court for giving a judgment that never came earlier in the history,” he added. He said all five judges of the bench have rejected the explanation of the Prime Minister for owning Mayfair flats, the money trail and the Qatari prince’s letter. “The court has rejected their stance on sources of income and money trail,” he said in a low tone unlike his aggressive posture on the Panama issue. Even the two senior most judges of the bench have asked for the immediate disqualification of the Prime Minister. They have also said that Prime Minister was no more Sadiq and Amin, he said.

Giving another reason for his demand to quit PM, Imran said the premier facing criminal investigations could not deal with the looming crisis faced by the country, including load-shedding and awful economy. He reminded that Nawaz had also given same advice to former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and asked him to quit and get himself cleared before the apex court.

The PTI chief also congratulated the party workers for struggling hard in party’s efforts to keep the Panama leaks case alive.  Not only the judges have rejected the Qatari prince’s letter but also the investigations into the money trail and the Hudaibiya Papers Mills case would also reopen after the verdict. This might not have happened without the struggle of the workers.

Responding to a question whether the judgment was as per his expectations, Imran said that he did not expect more than this. The Supreme Court would itself supervise the JIT investigation and two judges have already asked for PM’s disqualification. He said that a government official will summon the Prime Minister like Uzair Bloach was called by the JIT.

Showing his surprise over the distribution of sweets by the ruling party over the judgment, Chairman PTI said that he was surprise over this behaviour as the judgment was against the PML-N.

On the other hand, the senior PTI leadership that met under the chair of Imran decided that PTI would attend Friday’s sitting of the National Assembly and raise the issue of PM’s resignation on the floor of the house. The party has decided to postpone its earlier plan of holding a big rally at the Parade Ground of Islamabad as party leadership has decided that the demand of resignation should be pressed first on the floor of the lower House, Head of PTI Central Media Department Iftikhar Durrani said.

The PTI leadership in the meeting was of the view that the judgment had vindicated the stance of the party as the court had observed that the ruling party failed to present proofs of offshore wealth and money trail, Durrani said. He said the PTI leadership was also of the view that now all burden fell on the ruling family to prove itself innocent before the JIT.

Another PTI leader said that the party had already decided that it would not further resort to street agitation over Panama issue but would announce big rallies in different cities as mass contact drive ahead of the general elections.