LAHORE - Expressing great delight and pleasure over the indictment of Shehbaz Sharif, his son Hamza Shehbaz and others by an accountability court on Wednesday, advisor to Prime Minister on Accountability Barrister Shehzad Akbar termed it a historic day to hold the corrupt accountable.  

Addressing a press conference here at 90 Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, Shehzad Akbar hoped that the trial would now run at the fast track and the case would soon be concluded towards its logical end.

 He said the prosecution had produced a number of evidences pertaining to involvement of Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz and others in corruption and money laundering cases. He said the indictment of Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz had vindicated his stance as the proofs and evidence shared by him with the media were real and based on facts.

“Today’s charge-sheet against Shehbaz Sharif and his family consisted of 31 pages and 52 paragraphs which indicated that they were involved in looting money by plundering the national exchequer”, he maintained. Shehzad Akbar said that in this case, four accused including Salman Shehbaz, Ali Ahmad, Nisar Gull and Tahir Naqvi had been declared proclaimed offenders by the court while efforts were afoot to get them back home.

Giving details, he said that NAB’s reference was of about Rs 7.3 billion in which the money was looted and transferred through telegraphic transfer. Admitting that this was undoubtedly a legal mean of transferring money but Shehbaz Sharif and his family had used telegraphic transfer medium to transfer the ill-gotten money to their accounts.

Shehzad said that Mushtaq & Co’s owner Mushtaq and his son Yasir Mushtaq had become approvers in this case. They had revealed how they managed to transfer illegal money earned through kickbacks and corruption to Shehbaz Sharif’s family’s accounts besides money laundering through telegraphic transfers, he added.

The PM’s advisor further stated that other accused including Shahid Mehmood and Aftab owned Money Exchange Company while accused Qasim Qayyum was involved in handing over cash to be transferred to accounts of Shehbaz Sharif and his family members abroad and their businesses. All the evidence and testimonies had surfaced which would be enough to take this case to its logical end, he said. He maintained that Shehbaz Sharif and his family members had never cross examined the witnesses and did not answer the questions being asked in this case but they always tried to find out an escape by using lame excuses and delaying tactics. He added that such tactics would not work anymore as they will have to give answers to the questions.

Shehzad Akbar said that after the year 2008, Shehbaz Sharif used telegraphic transfers to flourish his businesses as he also made payments of his bulletproof vehicle and properties through these telegraphic transfers. In this case, he added, the credentials of more than 70 common people were used to make telegraphic transfers, whose economic condition was not good enough, which proved the fraud of Shehbaz Sharif and his family.

The PM’s advisor further stated that Sharif family was asking for ‘NRO’ to protect themselves and their illegal money when the government was trying to pass Financial Action Task Force (FATF) related laws. But Prime Minister Imran Khan had categorically denied any ‘NRO’ to them, he said, adding that if their demands were accepted regarding the National Accountability Bureau, they would have never been indicted in such cases.

To a question, Shehzad Akbar said that NAB’s arrest process was properly scrutinized as the courts thoroughly reviewed the arrest grounds when the accused appeared before it.  The same happened in this particular case, he added.

To another question about Nawaz Sharif, he said that Nawaz Sharif had been convicted and the government had allowed him to go abroad for medical treatment on humanitarian grounds but Nawaz Sharif had betrayed the government. He said all-out efforts were being made to bring him back to the country as the talks between Pakistan and British governments were in process. The deport option besides others were also being considered as Nawaz Sharif’s visa would expire during the current month, he said.