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Shahbaz rejects bank loan default allegations

Published Apr 05, 2013 04:45pm

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Photo shows Pakistan Muslim League (N) leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif has rejected allegations by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of defaulting on a bank loan of Rs 3,486 million in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.

Shahbaz Sharif has termed the allegations false and baseless and has accused his political opponents of resorting to political victimization.

"I am not even a bank loan defaulter of one rupee. If someone proves such a corruption case against me, I am willing to quit politics." Shahbaz told a press conference in Lahore.

Earlier, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) objected to the candidature of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif in the upcoming general elections over alleged scam of Hudaibiya Paper Mills, a senior NAB official told Dawn.com.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Punjab president and the former chief minister, along with his brother PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, were accused in the Rs3,486 million loan default case.

They have been accused of accumulating money and assets beyond their declared means of income by misusing authority. The case was filed with the Attock NAB Court on March 27, 2000.

Abbas Sharif, Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz, Shamim Akhtar, Sabiha Abbas, Maryam Safdar and Ishaq Dar were others accused in the case.

The bureau had conveyed its recommendations to the election commission in this regard.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of the PML-N has denied the allegations hurled at his party’s top leadership saying the details provided by the NAB are “misleading.”

He said that “darlings” of the outgoing PPP government are still present among the bureau’s ranks, who he said are targeting the PML-N leaders.

The spokesman said truth regarding these allegations will be soon unveiled in a press conference.

Reacting to the denial by the PML-N, the NAB official told Dawn.Com that the accountability bureau does not want to tarnish image of any public figure, adding that whatever details they have provided the ECP with is based on facts.

It’s up to the election commission to decide the fate of any candidate regarding his/her eligibility to contest the polls, he added.

The NAB had set up election cells to help the election commission in the scrutiny of candidates for the May 11 elections. The decision to establish the cells was taken at a meeting held on Feb 20.

The meeting, presided over by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Fakharuddin G. Ebrahim, was attended by heads of NAB, Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and National Database Registration Authority (Nadra).

The meeting had decided that the ECP, with the help of relevant organisations, will identify tax-evaders, loan and utility bill defaulters and beneficiaries of written-off loans to prevent them from contesting polls.