News Analysis |
The embattled Sharif family is passing through a rough phase of their political career, as the National Accountability Bureau has summoned Ali Imran, the son-in-law of Shehbaz Sharif, and Nawaz Sharif. Ali Imran, the husband of Shehbaz Sharif’s daughter Rabia, has been summoned by the accountability watchdog pertaining to an inquiry against the former chief financial officer of Punjab Power Development Company Limited and others.
Imran has been directed to record his statement with the bureau on Monday and according to the NAB letter, the accused in the case, Ikram Naveed, has revealed that some key documents were in possession of Imran Ali. This is the second time Ali would be hitting headlines, as in 2012 he was accused of torturing a bakery employee in Lahore. For which he faced a trial but was released unscathed.
Meanwhile, the graft-buster has also summoned former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a case relating to misuse of authority to construct a road from Raiwind to Jati Umra. NAB has directed the three-time ousted premier to appear before the Lahore bureau on April 21 for recording his statement.
Talking informally to his party loyalists at his JatiUmrah residence, the PMLN’s ‘Quaid for life’ suggested that his party workers should exercise restraint adding that he had been obstructed in past as well.
The said road, which can make the already turbulent journey of Nawaz Sharif, bumpier, was constructed in 1998. NAB has accused Sharif of increasing the area of the road and embezzling 125 million rupees.
The transparency regulator claims that the funds allocated for development projects were diverted for the construction of the road that facilitated the journey to the palatial farmhouse of Sharif brothers. Hence the bureau started a probe against the sporadically ruling family in April 2000.
Besides the fresh ‘assault’, NAB has filed three references in the Islamabad’s accountability court against Nawaz Sharif, his children – Hasan, Hussain and Maryam Nawaz – and his son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar regarding Avenfield properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments.
The former premier, who was sailing high despite obstructions, star trod facing trouble in 2016 after the surfacing of the Panama Papers but his worries soared high when a slew of petitions were filed in the Supreme Court. The petitions demanded investigations into the murky wheeling and the dealings of Sharif family.
Imran has been directed to record his statement with the bureau on Monday and according to the NAB letter, the accused in the case, Ikram Naveed, has revealed that some key documents were in possession of Imran Ali.
Sharif, who had just completed four years of his unabated stint, was disqualified by a five-member bench of the Apex Court on the charge that he concealed his receivable salary. Which he was entitling to an employee of Capital FZE, a firm managed by his younger son Hassan Nawaz in the United Arab Emirates. Besides the disqualification, the top court ordered NAB to file references against Sharif and his close confidante Ishaq Dar for having ‘assets beyond means’.
Dar has been declared a proclaimed offender in the case after the continued absence, however, Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam are regularly showing up before the Accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir.
Sharif’s counsel KhawajaHaris has completed cross-examination of Panama Papers Joint Investigation Team head, Wajid Zia, who during the investigation revealed that the smoking gun against Nawaz Sharif was obtained by MI and NAB official in just a single day. Confirming that Nawaz Sharif did receive a salary in August 2013, Zia divulged that he had no proof of such, however, hastened to add that the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority substantiates provision of salary to Sharif.
Zia also revealed that the material against Maryam Nawaz and her husband Captain Safdar was obtained and forwarded by a member of Inter-Services Intelligence, associated with the JIT. What adds insult to the injury of former ruling family is another verdict handed down by a five-member bench of the supreme court on Friday (today) that the disqualification under article 62 (1) (f) of the constitution would remain in place for lifetime, virtually sealing the parliamentary political career of Nawaz Sharif and former PTI’s Secretary General Jahangir Tareen.
Though Tareen accepted the decision with hopes that his review petition might reprieve him off the embargo, Nawaz seemed perturbed and declared that the decision was aimed to destroy his political career. Talking informally to his party loyalists at his Jati Umrah residence, the PMLN’s ‘Quaid for life’ suggested that his party workers should exercise restraint adding that he had been obstructed in past as well.
The NAB probe is a continuity of its massive drive against corruption and apparently, Sharifs are under its radar with investigations ongoing against the former Lahore Development Authority Director Ahad Cheema – another bureaucrat believed to be very close to the younger Sharif.