LONDON: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Abid Sher Ali surfaced here this week when he was seen exiting the office of the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) after “giving evidence” against what he claims are illegal properties belonging to federal Minister for Water Faisal Vawda.
Speaking to Dawn, Mr Sher Ali alleged that Mr Vawda owned 11 properties under his name in the UK but claimed there was no money trail to show how they were purchased. “I have shared all the evidence with the NCA, which includes land records, footage of the property and Vawda’s nomination papers which do not reflect how these were purchased. The rest is up to the NCA,” he said.
The former MNA said that he was moving the agency against the federal minister as he had been vocal in making allegations of corruption against members of the PML-N. “I appeal to NAB to investigate Faisal Vawda and prove that they are not just on a political witch hunt against my party,” he said.
The NCA, which is the UK’s prime agency investigating crime and money laundering, did not respond to Dawn’s request for details.
Minister refuses to comment till ban on his talk show appearances is lifted
Last month, the NCA made headlines when it confiscated a property and bank accounts belonging to the family of property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain in London as part of its efforts to curb money laundering and unexplained wealth in the United Kingdom.
Mr Vawda said he would not comment on this issue till the ban on his talk show appearances is lifted. Earlier this month, Vawda was banned from appearing on talk shows by the prime minister after he stirred controversy by bringing a military boot to a prime time show to mock the opposition’s role in parliament regarding the army chief’s extension legislation.
To a question about speculations that some sort of ‘deal’ has been brokered by the PML-N and the establishment, Mr Ali said: “If there was any deal, would half the PML-N leadership be in jail?”
When asked to comment on the rationale behind the PML-N’s decision to vote in favour of services chiefs’ extension legislation in the National Assembly, Mr Ali said: “We have the utmost respect for the armed forces and feel creating a controversy at this juncture is not appropriate. In light of the current circumstances that Pakistan is in, regarding relations with India and Iran, it is in the best interest of the country that there is no confrontation with institutions.”
Mr Ali also said that 2020 would be the year of fresh elections, and that the change in government would come about after free and fair polls are held. He added that his party was united under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif and that his decision was the final say.
Mr Sher Ali has been in the UK since November last year. After the 2018 elections, he was declared the runner-up from the NA-108 constituency of Faisalabad after a vote recount that he had requested after losing the July 25 election.
Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2020