Home News Analysis Nawaz Sharif denies ownership of London properties

Nawaz Sharif denies ownership of London properties

The ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has outrightly denied ownership of the London properties and told the court that “he had not been privy to any transactions for the acquisition of the properties”.

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News Analysis |

The ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has outrightly denied ownership of the London properties and told the court that “he had not been privy to any transactions for the acquisition of the properties”. He appeared before an accountability court on Monday to record his statement in the Avenfield reference.

Sharifs are facing three references — Avenfield properties, Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment Co — filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) under the directives of the Supreme Court in its July 28, 2017, Panama Papers judgment.

Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam, and son-in-law retired Captain Muhammad Safdar, have been directed to record the final statements in their defense in the references under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) and to produce, on record, anything contradicting the statements of the 19 prosecution witnesses in the case.

Nawaz in his testimony recorded the answers of 55 questions out of 127 asked by the accountability court. Accountability court Judge Muhammad Bashir prepared the questionnaire for Sharifs.

Read more: Nawaz Sharif re-summoned by NAB for misuse of authority

Criticism on the JIT

While recording his statement, Nawaz Sharif termed the inclusion of officers from Military Intelligence and ISI in the JIT as ‘inappropriate’, adding that the JIT report was affected by the current tense civilian-military relations.

Nawaz said that “he had recorded his reservation about the members of the JIT, formed by the SC to probe financial wheeling and dealings of the Sharif family, as per Article 10 of the Constitution (Right to Fair Trial)”.

Taking to Twitter, Imran said, “Absolutely shameful! A thrice-elected PM today declared before NAB Court that the Avenfield Apts belonged to his sons and he didn’t know where they got the money from! But as they are UK citizens the law of Pakistan does not apply to them acc to NS! Qatari letter also disowned.”

The apex court established a six-member JIT, comprising Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director Wajid Zia as head, Amer Aziz of the State Bank of Pakistan, SECP Executive Director Communication Bilal Rasool, Irfan Naeem Mangi of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Brigadier (retd) Nauman Saeed of the Inter-Services Intelligence and Brigadier Kamran Khurshid from the Military Intelligence.

He also accused some of the members of the JIT of having affiliations with political parties. He alleged that Bilal Rasool was of former Governor Punjab Mian Azhar whose son is affiliated with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Rasool, in the past, has slammed the government of the PML-N, the former premier said, alleging that Rasool’s wife a supporter of Imran Khan. Regarding Wajid Zia, Nawaz alleged that the FIA official hired services of his cousin’s firm to probe the assets.

Read more: Government seek inquiry into NAB’s probe of money laundering allegations against…

Nawaz’s denial of ownership of London properties

Nawaz Sharif said, “I was never involved in or associated with the acquisition of the London properties through any real or beneficial title.”

While commenting on the money trail of the London properties, Nawaz said, “I have never been a participant in or eyewitness to any of the transactions mentioned in Tariq Shafi’s affidavit.”

Nawaz Sharif further clarified thathe could not say anything about the documents his son Hussain had submitted in the apex court with regard to the London apartments”.

Read more: PM Abbasi and Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir lash out at NAB

‘Neither a real nor benami owner’

While responding to a question regarding his address to the nation and his speech on the floor of the National Assembly, Nawaz said, “I never stated on those occasions that I was ever a real or beneficial owner of the London flats. Rather, it has always been my constant stance that I was neither a real or benami owner of the Avenfield flats.”

Moving on to questions regarding the Gulf Steel Mills, Nawaz said that he does not directly know where the funds for the creation of the factory came from. “However, Tariq Shafi’s statement suggests that the Gulf Steel Mills were created through loans.”

Nawaz said that “he had recorded his reservation about the members of the JIT, formed by the SC to probe financial wheeling and dealings of the Sharif family, as per Article 10 of the Constitution (Right to Fair Trial)”.

Nawaz testified that he was not aware of how Gulf Steel Mills ran and was not a witness to how it was sold, adding that his knowledge about the matter was based on hearsay. “Tariq Shafi was neither named a suspect in these trials nor was he called in as a witness in the case,” Nawaz said during his testimony.

“It is a reality that I was taken into custody on October 12, 1999. After that I was sent off to Saudi Arabia,” Nawaz said, adding that he is aware that his father Mian Sharif had made Hussain and Maryam Nawaz directors of Hudaibiya Paper Mills.

“I also know that Hassan Nawaz was made a shareholder in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills by my deceased father,” he added. Addressing claims that Shehbaz Sharif and Shafi rejected signing an agreement in 1980, Nawaz said, “I can’t say anything, as no such denial took place in my presence nor have Tariq Shafi or Shehbaz Sharif have been produced as witnesses in the case to depose against me.”

Read more: Why PM Abbasi can’t stop NAB’s activism against the corrupt

Imran Khan’s response

Reacting to Nawaz Sharif’s denial of owning London properties, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday said that the deposed prime minister has found an absurd way of justifying his money laundering.

Taking to Twitter, Imran said, “Absolutely shameful! A thrice-elected PM today declared before NAB Court that the Avenfield Apts belonged to his sons and he didn’t know where they got the money from! But as they are UK citizens the law of Pakistan does not apply to them acc to NS! Qatari letter also disowned.”

“After wasting 2 yrs in SC & JIT as well as taxpayer money, NS now finds an absurd way to justify his money laundering. This means anyone, like Dar, can park his kids abroad along with his looted wealth & simply say he doesn’t know where his kids money came from!” he added.

Nawaz Sharif: an innocent revolutionary?

It is interesting to note that Nawaz Sharif has denied to inform the court as to where did his sons get money from to establish Flats and companies to further their business? Who helped them getting what they had in 1990s? Nawaz Sharif took another way and have become absolutely innocent while putting everything on the shoulders of his sons who do not appear before the court. It will also be interesting to see in the future as to what his sons have to say if they decide to appear before the court in Pakistan. this is, however, very clear now that Nawaz Sharif have smelled that he cannot play games with the court anymore. Nor the public can be fooled by issuing such strange statements of being unaware of what his sons were doing. The decision of the court will decide the future of ousted Nawaz.


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