LAHORE/ISLAMABAD - Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan are on the same page against NAB’s plea bargain.

Established in 1999 during the Gen Pervez Musharraf’s regime, the National Accountability Bureau has been under fire since it accepted a Rs2 billion bargain deal – the highest such deal made ever in bureau’s history.

The plea bargain law of NAB is promoting corruption, Imran told the media at his Bani Gala residence while Shehbaz said in Lahore that introduced by a military dictator, the law is a fraud.

Imran seconded (Federal Interior Minister) Ch Nisar's suggestion of NAB chief’s appointment by the Supreme Court. He said the NAB chief should step down as corruption is rampant in the country.

Had NAB been acting rightly, the country would have been cleansed of corruption, Imran said, adding that the bureau would be a credible organisation if it worked under the judiciary. The statement of interior minister shows the government too has no confidence in bureau, he said.

The Punjab CM, on the other hand, criticised the NAB law saying: “Introduced by a dictator, the bargain plea is a fraud.”  Speaking at the launch of e-stamp papers at Arfa Karim Software Technology Park in Lahore, he said the plea bargain is offered with punishment in law-abiding societies. He said that elimination of this law was the need of the hour.

The CM praised the media for its positive part but criticised a ‘handful of blackmailers’. He also counted his government’s counter-corruption steps. He called the e-stamp papers system a ‘historic step’ by his government against corruption and forgery.

“Seventy-year old system of judicial and non-judicial stamp papers has made simpler,” he added. He also vowed to modernise the management system in hospitals so that patients could be provided relief and the hospital staff could be made even more dutiful.

Panama problem

The PTI chief Imran Khan in his address took swipe at PM Nawaz Sharif, saying: “It has been cleared that Nawaz Sharif lied before the Parliament and apex court.”

He claimed in his Swabi rally, 100 per cent people raised their hand to second the impression that Nawaz Sharif was culprit but would not be sentenced in Panama leaks case. He made a request to the Supreme Court to form a bench for Panama leaks case and start the hearing at the earliest as the masses were unclear as to why the hearing was not being resumed.

Responding to a question, Imran hinted at a grand opposition alliance over the issue.  "We are awaiting what the PPP will do on December 27," he said. He said the PTI was cooperating with the opposition and the difference was only on the tactics of protest. But, he assured that the PTI would stand firm over the matter.

About handing over regulatory authorities to ministries, Khan said his party would challenge the decision in the court. "If the institutions like Ogra and Nepra will be under government's control, the government will do whatever it likes." Imran condemned restoration of deputy commissioners in Punjab saying that it would virtually give the local governments under the chief minister.

About former president Musharraf statement that he was allowed to leave the country on the intervention of former Army chief Raheel Sharif, Imran said: “There is an impression that the mighty cannot be held accountable in Pakistan.”

The PTI chief also criticised the statement of Defence Minister Kh Asif in which he gave a nuclear attack threat to Israel through his twitter account on a fake report. "Asif's statement has badly damaged the reputation of the country," he said, adding that defence minister should not have given such a statement on a fabricated story. “This showed incompetence of the minister.”