In an important development, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday unearthed 48 undeclared (benami) bank accounts of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif, claimed media reports.
The NAB Lahore in a report said that 48 bank accounts were opened in the name of PML-N leader Khawaja Asif, his family and ostensible owners (benamidars).
According to NAB sources, Rs220 million were transferred to the bank accounts of Khawaja Asif, his family, and ostensible owners (benamidars).
Khawaja Asif, his wife and son are possessing assets worth over Rs810 million.
An accountability court in Lahore on Dec. 31 handed over Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Khawaja Muhammad Asif to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on physical remand till January 13 in assets beyond income case.
Judge Jawadul Hassan heard the assets beyond income case against the PML-N lawmaker where the prosecution sought physical remand of the accused.
In a press statement issued after his arrest, NAB Lahore said that the investigation against Asif was being conducted under Section 5 of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and Section 3 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010.
Khawaja Asif’s arrest in asset beyond means is a joke and shows desperation of the govt, @NawazSharifMNS says pic.twitter.com/sTmwvcFJwK
— Murtaza Ali Shah (@MurtazaViews) December 29, 2020
Khawaja Asif is known for his close ties with the establishment. There have been media reports suggesting a possible political engineering in Sialkot where Khawaja Asif won the elections. Recently, in a meeting with Opposition leaders, the COAS reportedly pointed out that Khawaja Asif made him call on the eve of elections. “Didn’t you make me calls and sought my help?” COAS reportedly asked Asif.
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Why NAB arrested Khawaja Asif?
Khawaja Asif is known for his efforts to cool down both Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif and urge them to hold talks with the establishment. Therefore, analysts are mulling over the reasons behind his arrest by the NAB.
Recently, Khawaja asked the judiciary to help politicians initiate a national dialogue to let democracy flourish in the country.
عدلیہ قومی ڈائیلاگ کروائے۔۔۔ ن لیگ کے پارلیمانی راہ نما خواجہ آصف نے تجویز دے دی۔۔
فریقین کو ایک ایسی چھت ڈھونڈ لینی چاہیے جہاں سب بیٹھ کر بات چیت کر سکیں۔۔ عدلیہ اگر آگے آئے تو نیشنل ڈائیلاگ شروع ہو سکتا ہے۔#FaislaAapKa Aaj News@KhawajaMAsif pic.twitter.com/gYv1txzckL
— Asma Shirazi (@asmashirazi) November 18, 2020
Khawaja Asif was speaking to Asma Shirazi of AAJ News when he suggested the judiciary to play a role in order to end the ongoing anti-government protests under the flag of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
However, according to the statement, Asif was elected as senator in 1991, prior to which he had total assets of Rs5.1 million. By 2018, this figure had ballooned to Rs221 million, which is not justifiable with his known sources of income, said NAB Lahore.
Besides, the statement added, Asif was running a benami company in the name of his employee, Tariq Mir. A sum of Rs400 million was deposited in the bank account of the company, titled ‘Tariq Mir and Company’, but there was no information about the sources of income, said NAB Lahore.
Reacting to the development, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in a tweet condemned the arrest, terming it a part of “the nexus of the selectors and the selected”.
In November, NAB had sought records from him regarding sources and local amount of funds invested in the project by him, his family members (wife and son) and other partners/close relatives.
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NAB says the former foreign minister had in collusion with the management of the society illegally occupied various pieces of land owned by individuals who never sold their land to the society.