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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has summoned Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar on June 1 to explain his position with regard to the charge of concealment of his wife Maryam Safdar’s assets.

Nawabzada Salahuddin Saeed of the PTI, who had lost the 2013 elections to Mr Safdar from NA-21 (Mansehra), filed an application with the ECP seeking the disqualification of his opponent for concealment of assets belonging to his spouse.

The petition requested the ECP to initiate criminal proceedings against Mr Safdar for submitting false statements.

It also requested the commission to declare the elections in NA-21 as null and void and order fresh polls in the constituency.

The petition added: “Captain (R) Mohammad Safdar with malicious intent to defraud, deceit and mislead public at large as well as the commission and in absolute violation of the mandatory provisions of the Representation of People’s Act 1976 and other laws concealed material facts and did not disclose the assets, properties and offshore companies owned by his spouse Maryam Safdar outside Pakistan in his nomination papers.”

ECP asks PML-N lawmaker to explain his position over allegations levelled by losing PTI candidate from Mansehra

It said the respondent in continuation of this breach did not provide any detail pertaining to the properties in form XXI (the statement of assets and liabilities) submitted by him to the ECP on June 30, 2013, 2014 and lastly on June 30, 2015.

“And by doing so, he grossly violated sections 12(2)(f), 42A and 80A of the Act. Further, he was not qualified to be elected as a member and secondly after the disclosure of the concealments of the material facts by him, he is liable to be prosecuted under section 94 of the Act and also for causing colossal loss to the national exchequer by receiving perks and privileges being the member of National Assembly of Pakistan.”

According to the reports of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Maryam Safdar is the owner of British Virgin Islands-based firms, Nielsen Enterprises Limited and Nescoll Limited, incorporated in 1994 and 1993.

The address listed for Nielsen Enterprises is Saroor Palace, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

It is the same place where the Sharif family stayed from 2000 to 2008 after signing an agreement with the then military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

The document, dated June 2012, described Maryam Safdar as the ‘beneficial owner’ of these companies.

According to the ICIJ, Maryam Safdar and her brother Hussain Nawaz signed a document in June 2007 that was a part of the series of transactions in which Deutsche Bank Geneva lent up to $13.8 million to Nescoll, Nielsen and another company, with their London properties as collateral.

The petition added that it was also a fact that these entities owned properties situated at Park Lane London that had been under the occupation of Sharif family for decades.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2016