KARACHI: Former Sindh information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon has said that he has returned to Pakistan to face all pending cases against him. “If I am found guilty, I will not seek any lenience,” he said while talking to Dawn here on Monday.
The PPP lawmaker said: “Putting my name on the Exit Control List was an attempt to frame me as no government institution had informed me about it nor any investigation was initiated against me. Putting my name on the ECL was to scare me from returning home and to put pressure on other PPP lawmakers from Sindh.
“I was never given a notice. I was never called [for an investigation]. There was no case, neither an FIR nor an inquiry when I left for medical treatment abroad,” said Mr Memon, adding that he had approached the high court to know why his name was put on the ECL.
Mr Memon returned last month from Dubai, where he had been living in self-exile for over 18 months. When he left the country for medical treatment, according to him, there was neither any case against him nor his name was on the ECL. But when law enforcement agencies launched a crackdown on politicians and bureaucrats on corruption charges, his name was also mentioned in press reports.
When he returned to Islamabad after securing protective bail from the Islamabad High Court, he was arrested at the airport and handed over to the National Accountability Bureau to face its reference.
The case sent to the NAB court stated that the investigation was conducted regarding corruption in the advertisement awareness campaigns in the electronic media between July 2013 and June 2015. And it was found that the accused had acted in connivance with one another, resulting in a loss of over Rs3 billion, paid to seven advertisement companies in violation of the Sindh Public Procurement Rules 2010.
The reference accused him of illegally releasing official advertisements to the media through the so-called pre-qualified advertising agencies without due competition and also issued contracts to ‘favourite’ advertising agencies at exorbitant rates without confirming the market rates.
In reply to a question, he alleged that Sindh was being singled out by NAB by initiating the extreme step of putting his name on the ECL without issuing any prior notice.
“If the law is blind and every citizen belonging to any province is equal in the eyes of the law, why this law is not applied in the cases in other provinces, Punjab in particular, where other ruling party leaders and ministers are also facing cases?” he said.
Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2017