ISLAMABAD - Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid on Saturday took to responding to questions raised by Imran Khan and said that it was he who committed the ‘sin’ of suggesting Nawaz Sharif to go for victory speech on May 11, 2013 on the basis of results coming from 120 constituencies.

Pervaiz Rashid, in a press conference, responded to all four key questions raised by Imran at PTI’s June 27 political gathering at Bahawalpur, saying that Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf chief “should hang me” for committing the above said ‘crime’. He then asked Khan to divert Rs2 billion, supposedly required for arrangements of PTI’s upcoming million-man march, to the IDPs.

Rashid was in a good mood and answered all questions in his traditional smiling style. “I had asked Sharif to address party workers. I am responsible if that was a crime and ready to face punishment.” Justifying his decision, he said that TV channels, by that time, had announced results of more than 120 constituencies according to which the PML-N was leading.

He said Imran Khan should register the case against him in Qisakhawani police station at Peshawar (where his party is in power) and he would face this case in court. “Imran Khan becomes judge and executioner at same time.”

On the issue of returning officers, he said that it was on the record that PTI was the only political party which demanded on October 20, 2012 that the returning officers should be from judiciary. He said Imran Khan was using the abusive language and putting baseless allegations on judiciary which was against political norms.

On the question of caretakers at centre and Punjab, Rashid said that nominees of his party were neither appointed as PM nor as Punjab chief minister. “Caretaker PM was appointed by Supreme Court as PML-N and PPP could not agree on one name while Najam Sethi was nominee of the PPP over which PML-N had compromised.”

The minister then referred to another news item regarding a meeting between Sethi and Khan in Islamabad and said entire bureaucracy from chief secretary to peon were changed and people close to Khan and PML-Q leaders were brought in.

Responding to the allegation of rigging in 35 constituencies, the minister said there were more than 70 constituencies of National Assembly and over 100 of provincial assembly where the PTI had not fielded its candidates. Those who contested with PTI’s ticket bagged merely 8 percent votes on an average and the record can be verified from Election Commission of Pakistan’s website, he added. “We had never lost elections from Rawalpindi and if we had to rig elections we should have done that there,” he added.

The minister said that people of Pakistan had expressed their desire through the ballot and now the government had started delivering and addressing the chronic issues of energy and extremism but Pakistan Awami Tehreek PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan had emerged.

Responding to a question regarding cricketer Shahid Afridi’s suggestion of holding a 20-20 cricket match between Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan’s teams, he said if PML-N would lose match it would accept the results while if the reverse happens Imran Khan would never accept the result of the match.

PM’s House denies Imran’s charges

The spokesman for the Prime Minister’s House, refuting the charges levelled by PTI Chief Imran Khan, has made it clear that its daily expenses are Rs 1 million and not Rs 4 million.

“The annual budget of the PM’s House was Rs 457 million for the fiscal 2012-13 while the incumbent government curtailed the budget to the tune of Rs 367 million for the current fiscal 2014-15,” the spokesman explained.

He further said the annual budget of the PM’s House included salaries of staff, security expenses and expenses in respect of domestic and foreign guests.

The statement given by Imran Khan about the Prime Minister’s House expenses is a sheer allegation with no substance at all in it. It is concocted and unfounded,” the spokesman added.  Imran Khan had alleged during his public address in Bahawalpur that daily expenses of the PM House were Rs 4 million.