ISLAMABAD: As Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered a fresh investigation into Hudaibiya Paper Mills (HPM) case against the Sharif family, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the Lahore High Court’s (LHC) orders to grant bail to leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and allow him to go abroad for medical treatment.
NAB has also requested the interior ministry to place the name of Shehbaz Sharif on the ‘no fly list’ so that he cannot travel abroad. This was confirmed by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.
“NAB has decided to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against decision of three-member bench of Lahore High Court in a case of money laundering and assets beyond means against Shehbaz Sharif,” an official press release of NAB said.
The anti-graft watchdog announced that its legal team had started spade work for filing the appeal once the detailed judgement of the LHC was issued.
Anti-graft body wants PML-N leader’s name on no-fly list
NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal said in a statement that the bureau was a national institution which worked in the best interest of the country without coming under any pressure.
During a live TV show in which the prime minister received phone calls of the people, he said had ordered reinvestigation into the HPM case (that was closed in 2014) against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif and their family members.
According to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, the government had decided to hold fresh investigation into the HPM case as it was the starting point of the Sharif family’s corruption.
He said the decision was taken during a detailed briefing given to Prime Minister Khan by his legal team about the cases against Shehbaz Sharif.
Mr Chaudhry said in a tweet that Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif were the main accused in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case. “It is all the more important to bring the case to its logical conclusion as the ways and means for laundering looted money abroad in it were later adopted in other cases,” he added.
The agencies concerned were being issued directives to probe the case afresh, the minister said.
Later, he told Dawn that the government believed that the HPM case was a criminal case which could be reopened any time. “Yes we cannot reopen civil cases once they are decided but cases of criminal nature can be reopened even after they are disposed of by the courts,” he added.
The minister said the investigation agencies had found some links of telegraphic transactions of Shehbaz Sharif with the HPM, therefore a fresh investigation could be started on this.
During the programme, the prime minister said Shehbaz Sharif was facing a money laundering case involving Rs700 billion.
“This is just one case, [authorities] have a book’s worth of cases against him. The only time (the stolen) money comes back is when one of the wives or sons (of Shehbaz Sharif) have to buy a house. Now, if you gather all Pakistani prisoners who have stolen something, worth of all their thievery combined is not equal to Rs700bn.”
The PM claimed that because of two NROs given by former president Pervez Musharraf to Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, the country’s loans had risen from Rs6 trillion to Rs30tr. “This is what has destroyed the country. I have always said I would not give an NRO and I am saying it again today.”
Prime Minister Khan said Pakistan’s main problem was that the supremacy of law had not been established. The problem had begun when former chief justice Mohammad Munir had “allowed” martial law to be imposed under the doctrine of necessity, he added.
The democrats who had come to power after martial law ended did not establish supremacy of the law as well, he claimed, saying that the “battle” started when Musharraf removed the then chief justice of Pakistan (Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry).
“I was thrown in jail because I was with the chief justice,” PM Imran recalled. “I am very proud that my party and I participated fully [in the protests against the removal (of CJ Chaudhry].
“Our government does not interfere with the judiciary. I say with pride that we do not interfere with NAB because we uphold supremacy of law. Bringing the powerful within ambit of law is jihad (holy war).”
The prime minister said that fighting against the mafias who did not want supremacy of law to be established was his “real jihad” and success in that fight was near.
Mr Khan said that it was his prime goal to make Pakistan a great nation by making the corrupt and powerful mafia accountable before law. “To make the powerful accountable before law is a jihad. We will make the corrupt political leaders and mafias surrender before rule of law, he added.
That was the third interactive session titled ‘Apka Wazeer-i-Azam, Aap ke Sath’, where the prime minister took live phone calls and responded to public questions.
He vowed to uphold supremacy of law and justice to make Pakistan great. A nation, he said, could not become strong unless it empowered its weaker sections, and that was the reason he had had joined politics and named his political party after justice — Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
“The government is determined to ensure socio-economic justice in the country and we are nearing our destination. I will fight these mafias and win,” he vowed.
The prime minister said a nation could not prosper whose leaders and prime ministers stole money as it resulted in the weakening of the country’s economy.
He said that the FACTI Panel of the United Nations had revealed that about $1,000 billion was illegally transferred from poor to rich countries annually.
Mr Khan asked the public to report cases of land grabbing directly to him and said that the government had recovered 21,000 acres worth Rs27 billion from land mafia.
He said that Pakistan Muslim League leader Maryam Nawaz sided with a land grabber when the government recovered the state land from his illegal occupation after thorough investigation into the record. “She has four palatial houses in London,” he claimed.
Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2021