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LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi appeared before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday and recorded their statements in an 18-year-old case in which they are accused of possessing assets beyond their known sources of income.

However, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s sons — Ali and Hasnain — did not appear before NAB’s combined investigation team (CIT) in Lahore to submit a reply to the questionnaire they had been sent in the graft case pertaining to income beyond known sources.

“Ali and Hasnain skipped today’s appearance before NAB. They allegedly have shares in six companies owned by their father (Mr Dar) and assets in the UAE. A questionnaire was sent to them in this regard, but they did not reply to it,” a NAB source told Dawn. He said the bureau would soon issue them a second summons. The two brothers are reportedly in London with their father who has been admitted to a hospital where he is scheduled to undergo a cardiac procedure.

We have been held accountable many times before: Pervaiz Elahi

The official said that the Chaudhrys of Gujrat had held a 90-minute meeting with the CIT and replied to their queries regarding the case that had been instituted against them by retired Gen Pervez Musharraf in the early 2000s. He said it was among 179 large cases approved by newly-appointed NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal that would be reopened. “We have started reopening these cases and this time around they will be concluded,” the official said.

Speaking to journalists, Pervaiz Elahi said, “Today we appeared before a NAB team and replied to their questions. We have always respected the judiciary and other national institutions and will continue to extend our full cooperation with NAB in this case.”

Responding to a question, he said they had provided the information and records sought by the bureau. “Since this case has been pending for the last 18 years, we had provided most of the required records to NAB.”

The PML-Q leader said that then NAB chairman retired Lt Gen Khalid Maqbool had conceded that there was nothing in the case against them. “We asked him (Maqbool) that if there was nothing against us, why was the case not closed?” He said a large number of PML-Q leaders and workers wanted to accompany them to the NAB office. “But we told them that a notice had been issued to only the two of us and we should not go to the NAB office in the form of a rally.”

Mr Elahi stressed that this was not the first time that they had faced accountability. “During Musharraf’s tenure in 2000, a NAB team had raided our house and even checked the sanitary fittings in bathrooms. During the Bhutto regime, some 135 fake cases were registered against us and other family members. Similarly, the Shahbaz government had raided our house on the pretext of finding tampered gas meters. During the last 10 years, the Sharif brothers had resorted to every possible tactic against us and gotten our all financial matters examined just to settle a score...but they failed in their designs.”

The former deputy prime minister said there had been three murder cases registered against the family during various regimes and nothing had been proved because the cases were all politically motivated.

He said that during every election, Chaudhry Shujaat and he had undergone strict scrutiny by the Election Commission. “Although the cases against us are old but no action was taken against Shahbaz Sharif or

Rana Sanaullah for their alleged involvement in the killing of 16 people and injuring 100 people in the Model Town tragedy,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2017