During the course of the Panamagate hearing in the Supreme Court, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted details pertaining to Ishaq Dar's confessional statement in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference. Dar had submitted the statement regarding money laundering before a magistrate on April 25, 2000.

In it, Dar admitted to money laundering of $14.86 million, and opening two bank accounts under the names of Sikandar Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi for Nawaz Sharif's brother.

Following are the excerpts from that report, a copy of which is available with Dawn.

In the aftermath of Pervez Musharraf's coup d'état in 1999, the then ousted prime minister's close aide Ishaq Dar had been facing several hardships.

In his confessional statement on April 4, 2000, in connection with the Hudabya Papers Mills Limited (HPML) case, Dar said that he had good relations with Masood Ahmed Qazi since in 1970 and during his stay in London in early 1970s, he was staying with the Qazi family at Ilford, Essex (1970-72).

In his confessional statement submitted before NAB, Dar said, "Masood Ahmad Qazi belonged to a middle class family and he used to treat me as one of his family members."

Dar went on to say, "As far as their financial status in the year 1992 is concerned, according to my information there was no significant improvement in the previous status of the middle class family."

The finance minister stated that he established a Modarba company named First Hajveri Modarba Company (FHMC), a Non-Banking Financial Institution (NDFI) in 1990 and the company started its functions next year with a paid up capital of Rs150 million.

He said that Nawaz Sharif had been his batch mate at Govt College Lahore during 1964 to 1966, "however, we had no intimacy at the time." He came closer to Sharif family in 1990 after he was being recognised at the national level, particularly for his suggestions on national budgets, reads the statement.

According to the document, Dar introduced the Qazi family with Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif in 1990 at a function in Lahore.

"In early 1992, Mian Nawaz Sharif, who was then prime minister of Pakistan, contacted me and requested to provide credit line of approximately Rs100 million to the business concerns of his family, from my Modarba... subsequently, he sent me photo copies of the passports of Mrs Sikandar Masood Qazi, Nuzhat Gohar, Talat Masood Qazi and Kashif Masood Qazi (family members of Masood Qazi).

“He asked me to open/operate foreign currency accounts in their names in different banks with the foreign currency funds provided by the Sharif family," it reads.

The statement reveals that Dar had reservations in opening/operating these "Benami Accounts" but he was assured by Nawaz Sharif that "Qazis have agreed for the use of their names" and furthermore after the promulgation of Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992 by Pakistan Muslims League (Nawaz) led government, all the foreign currency accounts got complete immunity against any enquiry or investigation by any department or agency.”

In that scenario, Dar was asked by " Nawaz Sharif to open four Benami foreign currency accounts in the names of Sikandar Masood Qazi, Talat Masood Qazi, Nuzhat Gohar and Kashif Masood Qazi."

"It was further decided that the foreign currency accounts in the name of first two persons will be operated by me, where as for the rest of two Benami Accounts, Naeem Mehmood, a director of my company had to operate and sign the instructions under my supervision," he mentioned in his confessional statement.

He had also revealed that besides these four accounts, "the previously opened foreign currency accounts of Saeed Ahmed, one of the former director of FHMC and a close friend of mine, and of Mussa Ghani, the nephew of my wife, were also used to deposit huge foreign currency funds provided by the Sharif family to offer them as collateral to obtain different and indirect credit lines."

He also mentioned that several other accounts were also opened/operated by him and Naeem Mehmood in the same manner.

Citing a meeting, called by Shahbaz Sharif in early 1998, he said that the Sharif family decided to liquidate/ get en-cashed all these foreign currency accounts due to aftermath of Qazi's scandal in press.

Following the presentation of details of transitions and other financial matters, Dar said: "They (Sharifs) made all this arrangement as they could not have explainable sources of these funds which ultimately landed in one of their companies."

'Statement taken under duress'

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said the confessional statement of Ishaq Dar was obtained under duress and that he himself was a witness of the torture faced by Dar.

"Being a political worker I don't think that it would be decent for me to describe my ordeal and what I faced when I was imprisoned, particularly after Musharraf's coup in October, 1999. But I want to mention that Dar was held at his house till Feb, 2000, and subjected to interrogation multiple times during this period," Asif said while talking to Geo News.

"On February 11, 2000, we were shifted to Chanba House and later transported to Attock Fort," he added.

Asif claimed that during the course of interrogations and detentions, several employees of Ittefaq Foundry were also kept along with them in detention centres.

"These employees were also subjected to torture and we used to listen their screams till late in the night."

"When they were tortured to reveal information about the businesses of Ittefaq Foundry, they put all the blame on Ishaq Dar. As a result, the investigators used to torture Dar more," said Asif.

Asif recalled, "On the morning of February 8 or 9, 2000, I met him [Dar], he had lost more than 30 pounds of weight."

The minister is of the view that Dar is a professional, not a political worker, "so forcing him into issuing a statement was not a big deal".

He praised Dar for facing immense pressure for a considerable duration of time. "I do believe Dar showed steadfastness and tackled the pressure well."

"He was detained for 23 months," Asif said, adding that later it was proved that the statements were taken under duress.

"I was imprisoned in a 4 by 6 feet cell, in solitary confinement," he said. "The confessional statements were taken under such conditions."

"No one was able to bear the pressure Dar was facing."

"A person always used to point a gun at us, even when we went to do ablution or for a walk. Dar was among those who were subjected to this extreme psychological torture," he said.



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