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High drama: Money laundering allegations

May 08, 2013

ALL had of late been unaccountably quiet on the Rehman Malik front, but it would now seem that the senator and former interior minister has been unable to resist a golden opportunity for a public brouhaha. On Monday, at a news conference in Lahore, he announced that he had proof of money laundering by the Sharif brothers to the tune of billions of rupees. Displaying lists and what he called a confessional statement from PML-N leader Ishaq Dar, Mr Malik indulged in high histrionics: “If I fail to prove charges against them, I will quit politics,” he declaimed, only to paradoxically end more circumspectly by asking the Sharifs to apologise for their “bad behaviour”.

The wrongdoing Mr Malik has alleged is serious, and it should be a matter for the courts and investigation teams to establish the truth, or otherwise, of his claims: the senator has said that he has written to the registrar of the Supreme Court in this regard. But where did all this ‘evidence’ suddenly and so fortuitously come from? Where was it, particularly, over the past five years when the PPP was in power? To ask this question may appear too nitpicky when there is such high drama to relish, but then the worrying thought of the elections arises. The campaigns of many parties have constituted a barrage of accusations against competitors rather than meaningful notes on future policy. The PPP is no exception. Mr Malik may not be contesting the elections, but he has never been shy of coming to his party’s aid. It is for investigators to decide whether there is a legal case to be made here or whether this was merely a reason to be king for a day on the media.