PM aide brushes aside govt-NAB nexus allegation

Updated 29 Sep 2020

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Adviser to the PM on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar and Information Minister Shibli Faraz address a press conference in Islamabad on Monday. — PID
Adviser to the PM on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar and Information Minister Shibli Faraz address a press conference in Islamabad on Monday. — PID

ISLAMABAD: Refuting the opposition’s allegations about government-National Accountability Bureau (NAB) nexus in the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif, an aide to the prime minister claimed that the opposition leader faced defeat on two fronts on Monday — one in the court and the other when his niece described his politics as reconciliatory.

Adviser to the PM on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-M) leaders Maryam Nawaz and Marriyum Aurangzeb had committed contempt by maligning the Lahore High Court (LHC) which cancelled Shahbaz Sharif’s bail in the assets beyond means/money laundering case.

The opposition leader was arrested from outside the LHC on Monday morning after it rejected his petition seeking extension in his bail.

“Today Shahbaz Sharif was charge-sheeted both by the judiciary which cancelled his bail and politically by his niece, Maryam Nawaz, who claimed that she does not do politics of reconciliation while her uncle (Shahbaz) does so,” Mr Akbar said at a joint press conference with Information Minister Shibli Faraz.

Claims Maryam has put an end to Shahbaz’s politics; minister says comparing PM with opposition leader is insult

Earlier in the day, Maryam Nawaz, at her press conference, said, “it was not easy to carry her and her father Nawaz Sharif’s narrative” and that her uncle Shahbaz always did politics of reconciliation.

The PM’s adviser said Maryam Nawaz had wrapped up the politics of Shahbaz Sharif by saying that he had been doing “politics of reconciliation” for the last 30 years.

He said Shahbaz Sharif had failed to satisfy the court and presented “weak” arguments about his assets and money laundering.

He said Shahbaz-NAB tussle started in June when the bureau raided his house in Lahore to arrest him, but he managed to escape and obtained bail the next day from the same court.

Responding to the opposition’s allegations of “government-NAB nexus”, the adviser said: “When decisions are given in their (opposition leaders) favour, they (decision) are fine but when they are given against them, they are wrong.”

Mr Akbar said the court had not asked Shahbaz Sharif about the assets of his children but about his own “wrong doings”.

“Shahbaz Sharif is in fact the ringleader of a gang of money launderers, as in this specific case there are 16 accused, including his family members, facilitators and four aides who have become approvers,” he added.

The adviser claimed that Shahbaz Sharif owned a company called Nisar Trading on whose account ordinary people like a hawker, clerk and party workers deposited money which was then transferred in the bank account of Shahbaz’s first wife, Nusrat Shahbaz and then to his own account.

He (Shahbaz) bought a luxurious house, cars and other precious items from that money for his second wife, Mr Akbar added.

Responding to a query, he said a constitutional obligation was fulfilled by informing National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser about the arrest of the opposition leader.

Information Minister Shibli Faraz said Shahbaz Sharif was arrested because he could not satisfy the court about his assets and money laundering.

“If they (Sharifs) have made money through legal and just means there is nothing wrong but they should give their money trail. Like Nawaz Sharif, his brother Shahbaz Sharif has also failed to present evidence of his assets,” he added.

Mr Faraz said it was unjustified to compare Prime Minister Imran Khan with the Sharifs, as he (PM) earned through hard work and struggle and brought his money back to the country, while the Sharifs looted the national wealth and made offshore assets.

“He (PM) established the first cancer hospital, a university and undertook many social welfare initiatives before coming to power,” the minister said, adding that “for me comparing Imran Khan with Shahbaz Sharif is an insult”.

He said the courts had declared Imran Khan sadiq (truthful) and ameen (righteous) while the opposition wanted to oust him so it could come into power again.

The minister criticised Maryam Nawaz, saying the Sharifs considered themselves above the law and an insult to appear before the courts, investigation officers or any other institution.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2020