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Fresh evidence against Sharifs unearthed: PM

Updated April 11, 2019

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Prime Minister Imran Khan distributes cheques among family members of the Sahiwal incident on Wednesday. —APP
Prime Minister Imran Khan distributes cheques among family members of the Sahiwal incident on Wednesday. —APP

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday the government had dug out new evidence of corruption and money laundering against the Sharif family members and fresh cases would be instituted against them in the days to come.

Read: PM Khan rules out 'NRO', faults Nawaz for not building 'one good hospital' in 30 years

He said this while chairing a joint meeting of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf parliamentary party and members of the federal and Punjab cabinets at the chief minister’s secretariat.

He asked the chief minister to constitute a judicial commission to further probe the Sahiwal shooting case, if legally possible. The prime minister also gave approval to the draft Punjab local government law and launching of a crackdown against those involved in increasing medicines’ prices on their own.

Corruption cases would be instituted against them in the coming days, says Imran

Sources present in the meeting told Dawn that the premier expressed resentment over money laundering and corruption that had plagued the country. He said that the Sharif family members were filling bags of money and laundering it through their frontmen in Dubai.

Without naming hundi or other illegal modes of money transfer, the prime minister alleged that the Sharif family members continued laundering money in bulk and receiving remittances in their accounts.

The federal and provincial governments’ institutions had collected solid evidence of corruption and money laundering against the Sharifs and cases would soon be instituted formally, he said. “This will be the first case against the Sharif family members to be instituted by the PTI government,” a source quoted Prime Minister Khan as having said.

Punjab Housing Minister Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed told the media that the prime minister at the outset of the meeting spoke about corruption and how the Sharif family members, including Hamza Shahbaz, Salman Shahbaz, and their employees had laundered billions of rupees abroad and continued getting remittances in their accounts. He said massive data about money laundering had been received and cases would soon reach the courts. “The prime minister has directed all provincial ministers to expose the Sharif family on the media,” Mr Rasheed said.

Expressing his discontentment over the appointment of Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), sources say the prime minister acknowledged that the Punjab government had done well while sticking to its decision of not giving Hamza Shahbaz the coveted slot of the PAC’s chairmanship.

As the provincial ministers expressed concern about the unbridled price-hike and cost of living going too high, the prime minister said the next two to three months would be crucial. He said Pakistan was going through a tough period and blamed the previous governments for their unwise policies that had led the country to the verge of bankruptcy.

Judicial commission

Prime Minister Khan, at the request of the family members of the victims of the Counter-Terrorism Department personnel’s shooting near Sahiwal on Jan 19, asked Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to constitute a judicial commission to further investigate the case, if legally possible. In the firing, four people — including Khalil, his wife and a daughter — were killed.

The prime minister along with the chief minister met late Khalil’s heirs at the chief minister’s secretariat and expressed his heart-felt sympathies with them saying no compensation could meet the loss of human life.

He presented Rs30 million compensation cheques to the family members that included Rs20m for education of Mr Khalil’s children, who were also injured in the Sahiwal incident.

The family members complained that their demands had not been met yet and called for formation of a judicial commission to investigate the incident. The prime minister asked the family members whether they still wanted to get a judicial commission constituted when a detailed inquiry had been conducted and its report was available. The family members replied in affirmation. “The prime minister then looked towards the chief minister and asked him to constitute a judicial commission, if legally possible,” a source present in the meeting said.

Drug prices

Taking notice of complaints of increase in medicine prices, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to launch a crackdown against the elements responsible for it.

The prime minister asked Chief Minister Buzdar to ensure that medicines’ prices were brought back to the previous level within 72 hours.

The prime minister’s meeting with the PTI parliamentary party and members of the federal and Punjab cabinets was attended by the PM’s special assistant Naeemul Haq and former party general secretary Jahangir Khan Tareen, besides federal and provincial ministers.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had expressed anger over Mr Tareen’s presence in official meetings and termed this contempt of court.

Read: PTI ministers support Tareen after Qureshi takes issue with him attending govt meetings

Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2019