ISLAMABAD: In what appears to be his first political outburst since suspension of his jail sentence in the Avenfield properties reference, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday demanded an investigation into the assets of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan.
“The nation wants to know the money trail of her foreign properties,” said Mr Sharif during an interaction with reporters after attending court proceedings in the Flagship Investment reference.
The ex-premier said Ms Khan, a member of the board of governors of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, was not doing any business. “Apparently, there was no source of income. It must be thoroughly investigated how she accumulated wealth to acquire properties in Dubai, whether it was her own money or someone used her to purchase benami properties,” he said. She regularised the Dubai properties by paying a ‘nominal fine’, the ex-PM said. “Wasn’t that an NRO?” he asked, referring to the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance that former military ruler Pervez Musharraf had promulgated to settle pending cases.
Flagship reference investigation officer cross-examined
Mr Sharif, who met his ailing brother Shahbaz Sharif in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau a couple of days ago, said he worked day and night for timely execution of development projects yet he was arrested and being interrogated. He said he didn’t believe in blame game and never used foul language against rival politicians.
He accused the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government of misusing NAB to suppress the opposition. He said NAB arrested leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif without even examining primary record. Mr Shahbaz was being grilled for ‘unilaterally’ cancelling the Ashiyana housing scheme contract, the supreme leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said, adding that the bureau did not even notice that the contract was revoked with mutual consent of the contractor.
While referring to Lowari tunnel and Neelum-Jhelum hydel projects, a network of motorways, improvement in power generation and gas supply, economic uplift, stock market boom and exchange rate stability, the former premier claimed that the PML-N government had taken the initiative for the opening of the Kartarpur border to facilitate Sikh pilgrims’ travel to their holy places in Pakistan. Mr Sharif added that the PTI government neither fulfilled what it had promised to the nation during its election campaign nor achieved the targets it set for the initial 100 days in office.
Earlier, the last prosecution witness in the Flagship investment reference admitted before the accountability court during cross-examination that Mr Sharif did not hold public office at the time of the establishment of Flagship Investment companies.
According to the prosecution, the Flagship Investment Ltd was established in 2001.
Investigation officer Mohammad Kamran, the last prosecution witness, said: “It is correct that accused Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif was not holding public office with effect from October 1999 till May 13, 2013.”
The investigation officer also admitted that he “did not attempt to record statement of Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani”. After getting a response from the UAE government on the request seeking mutual legal assistance, “I did not deem it fit” to record the statement of the Qatari prince (a defence witness), he added.
Mr Kamran testified that the former premier did not name any of the companies owned by Hassan Nawaz in his televised address to the nation or during his speech on the floor of the National Assembly.
The accountability judge later adjourned the proceeding till Thursday when the prosecution is likely to advance final arguments in Al-Azizia reference.
Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2018