ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday welcomed the remarks of incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan about early elections and claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was ready to go for a contest.
After testifying in the Flagship Investment reference in the accountability court, Mr Sharif during his informal discussion with journalists said that if the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) wanted to go for midterm elections, this would be a blessing for the people of Pakistan.
“The people are happy over these remarks as they want to get rid of this government even before the schedule time,” he said.
According to him, the PML-N is in a position to win elections whenever they are held.
While recording his testimony before the accountability court, Mr Sharif said that the reference against him was not only against legal norms, but also contrary to religious, social and ethical values of society.
Says reference against him is not only against legal norms, but also contrary to values of society
He said it was ironic that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was trying to portray a fair and transparent matter as an illegal practice. Around eight million overseas Pakistanis earn their livelihood in different countries and some of them secured distinction in their respective professions and businesses. “Have overseas Pakistanis or their parents in Pakistan ever faced references for sending or receiving remittances?” he asked.
He pointed out that his sons sent him different amounts from time to time not because he was the owner of their businesses, but they did it for being his children.
According to the statement of the former prime minister, “there are four ingredients to be proved by the prosecution, (i) The onus is on the prosecution to prove that the accused has paid for certain property, (ii) Titled documents were in possession of the accused person, (iii) The properties are in possession and being occupied by the accused, and (iv) It is on the prosecution to prove motive for benami. In case, the prosecution levels allegation of benami it is up to them to prove the allegation”.
The statement further said: “As far as this [Flagship Investment] case is concerned, everyone knows the treatment meted out to Sharif family for two and half years in the name of accountability. None in Pakistan has ever faced such [harsh] accountability.”
The statement, however, termed it a matter of pride that the ruthless accountability could not prove an iota of corruption against Mr Sharif or his family members.
It claimed that the whole case against him was based on assumptions. It started from allegations of billions of rupees corruption and ended with the offence “assets beyond means” and the prosecution could not prove that as well, he added.
Mr Sharif then gave a background of his family properties and industries which were run by his father Mian Mohammad Sharif. He told the court that in 1969-70, his family purchased seven bungalows comprising 10 kanal each and their Ittefaq foundries were dealing with steel furnaces, sugar mills, cement industry parts, defence-related products, gear boxes and many others.
Mr Sharif said that in January 1972, Ittefaq foundries were nationalised in Pakistan whereas they were taken over by the Bangladeshi government after the fall of Dhaka. In 1979, while Ittefaq foundries were operating at a loss, they were returned to the Sharif family which invested a huge amount and turned them into a profitable organisation again.
He said that both his sons had been helping Mian Sharif since they had been students and both of them started independent business during the lifetime of their grandfather. The former prime minister said that his family business paid a huge cost for politics.
During the regime of military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, his family business was victimised. The then regime converted his house in an old home and his brothers Shahbaz and Abbas Sharif had to live in rented houses. Even today, industrial units owned by the Sharif family were not working due to political victimisation, he said.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2018