An accountability court on Friday directed PML-N president and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif to appear in a money laundering and assets case on August 27. The money laundering case got importance due to the ongoing uncertainty political scenario.
Admin Judge Jawadul Hassan directed jail authorities to present incarcerated Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz and other accused nominated in the case at the next hearing.
The court instructed the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) investigation officer to explain to it the nature of allegations leveled against Suleman Shehbaz, Nusrat Shehbaz, Rabia Imran, and Javeria Ali, who have still not been arrested.
The judge further asked him to spell out why have they not been arrested yet and whether or not they have joined the national graft buster’s investigation into the case. The other accused who remain free on bail has also been directed to show up.
It is important to note that on Aug 17, the national graft buster filed Rs7 billion money laundering and assets beyond means reference against the Shehbaz family, including his wife Nusrat Shehbaz, sons – Hamza Shehbaz and Suleman Shehbaz – and two daughters, Rabia Imran and Javeria Ali.
Suleman is a proclaimed offender in the case. The other accused named in the reference include Nisar Ahmed, Syed Muhammad Tahir Naqvi, Ali Muhammad Khan, Qasim Qayyum, Rashid Karamat, Masroor Anwar.
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The bureau approved requests by Muhammad Mushtaq alias Mushtaq Cheeni, his son Yasir Mushtaq, Shahid Rafique, and Aftab to turn approvers against Shehbaz family in the case.
Money laundering case against PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif
As the court extends Shehbaz Sharif’s bail, it is important to look into allegations leveled against him. According to a confidential investigation report seen by the Daily Mail, millions of pounds were transferred into the bank accounts of Shehbaz’s family members, including his wife, children and son-in-law. It states to have interviewed key witnesses held on remand in jail, including a UK citizen, Aftab Mehmood, who claims that he had laundered millions on behalf of Shahbaz’s family from a nondescript office in Birmingham – without attracting suspicion from Britain’s financial regulators, who inspected his books regularly.
According to Daily Mail, investigators are convinced that some of the allegedly stolen money came from the Department for International Development (DFID)-funded aid projects. For rehabilitating and rebuilding lives of the poor, the DFID gave £54 million from UK taxpayers; and the legal documents allege that Shehbaz’s son-in-law received about £1 million from that fund.
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As per claims by the Daily Mail, Britain’s National Crime Agency has been working closely with Pakistani investigators and Home Secretary Sajid Javid discussing the possible extradition of members of his family, who have taken refuge in London.
It is yet to be seen how the NAB proceeds with the reference. In the past, legally weak references were filed by the NAB which did not prove effective in any way.