Monday, July 10, 2017
#LockHimUp - Pakistani Prime Minister and his family’s assets beyond their known means, observes JIT
Noting that the PM’s family’s assets do not match their known income, the joint investigation team (JIT) probing their offshore assets has recommended filing of reference against Nawaz Sharif and his sons with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Members of the high-powered JIT submitted on Monday its fourth and final, 256-page report to the apex court.
“Failure on the part of all Respondents to produce the requisite information confirming “known sources of income’ is prima facie tantamount to not being ablento justify assets and the means of income,” the report read.
The five-judge bench was split 3-2 while announcing the April 20 verdict, with head judge Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Gulzar Ahmed ruling against the premier in their dissenting notes. Through its final decision, the top court formed a JIT and ordered it to investigate in depth the money trail for the ruling family’s contentious London flats at the heart of the case.
A three-judge bench of the apex court was formed to oversee the implementation of the April 20 verdict. The six-member JIT, headed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Additional Director General Wajid Zia, was given two months to find out answers to some 13 questions – mainly related to the money trail for the Sharifs’ London properties – and a deadline of July 10 was set by the court. Apart from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the JIT interrogated some seven members of the Sharif family over the last two months. Nawaz’s elder son Hussain appeared before the panel six times. His younger brother appeared thrice. Other Sharif family members who testified before the JIT included Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, premier’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and her husband Capt (retd) Safdar, and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. However, the Sharif family’s prime defence in the case – Qatari Prince Hamad Bin Jassim bin Jaber al Thani who supported the Sharifs money trail through two separate letters – did not appear before the probe team. A more crucial question, therefore, is whether the top court will accept a report minus the prince’s testimony.
On Sunday, top heads in PML-N came together to map out a plan to wage a battle on both legal and political fronts against the probe panel in a bid to avert any adverse outcome. Low-key meetings between the prime minister and members of his legal team arrived at the decision to challenge the JIT report – in the top court as well as in public – sources in the ruling camp said.
A reporter of The Nation was forcefully taken away from his house Saturday night by a team of over a dozen men, who the family believes were personnel of some security agency.
Police and Rangers have denied any role in the abduction of Abdullah Zafar, whose father Zaferullah however suspects the illegal raid was made with their knowledge and cooperation.
The father also alleged that police was not even registering the FIR of Abdullah’s abduction, though the high ups gave verbal assurances about safe recovery of Abdullah after the journalist community protested.
Abdullah was residing with his family at Lawyers Society, Scheme 33, in Sacchal Police percents. They had moved recently from Shah Faisal Colony, where they were living with Abdullah’s uncle Ibratullah’s family.
The raiding party first went to the house of Ibratullah, blindfolded him and took him along to guide them to Abdullah’s new address.
“Over a dozen men in civvies, most of them clad in Shalwar Kameez, and all of them with their faces covered, arrived at our home Saturday night. My younger brother was also accompanying them,” said Zaferullah, the father of the journalist.
He said the raiders arrived in at least three vehicles, two of those mobile vans. He said he believed that police and Rangers personnel were also around his home when the men in the plainclothes raided his house.
“The security personnel talked with Abdullah for a couple of minutes and checked his identity cards before taking him along with them,” the father said.
Talking to The Nation, Abdullah’s uncle Ibratullah said that when they arrived at his house, the leader of the raiding team said to him that “your Rs50 million cheques have had bounced.
“He [then] asked who was living at the ground floor of this two-storey house. Where they [Abdullah’s family] have shifted to now? You must be having the address?
“As I gave them the address, they blindfolded me and took me towards Safora Chowrangi where they removed the mask from my face and took me to Abdullah’s house.
“They went into Abdullah’s room and after a brief talk with him, they took him away with them.”
Abdullah’s father said that while leaving the home, the raiders initially also took him and another of his son along them “but then they dropped us at the main gate of the house. They did not give us the reason of the raid.”
The family accused the police of non-cooperation. “I visited [Sacchal police station] multiple times but they did not register my complaint,” said the father of the journalist. “On my third visit, the officials just took my application and even did not give me a receipt of the application,” he added. But the law enforcement agencies including police and Rangers have denied their involvement in the raid. “I have checked out, he is not with police,” said Sindh IGP Allah Dino Khowaja. Counter Terrorism Department (DIG) DIG Dr Sanaullah Abbasi declined Abdullah’s arrest by CTD. A Rangers official also said the paramilitary force did not have any role in Abdullah’s abduction. “We have inquired and our troops did not detain or arrest him,” the officer claimed. Sindh Home Minister Sohial Anwar Sayal took notice of the incident and directed DIG East to make the recovery of the missing journalist possible.
The traumatised mother of the abducted journalist has appealed the kidnappers to not harm his son. She said Abdullah has sinus problem.
Karachi Union of Journalist (KUJ) strongly condemned the incident. “We strongly condemned Abdullah’s illegal detention and we demand his immediate release,” said KUJ General Secretary Fahim Siddiqui. “This is not the way to deal with a journalist. The law enforcers should approach the journalist body first if they suspected him of involvement in any criminal or illegal activity,” he said.
Fahim demanded the prime minister and the chief minister to ensure immediate and safe recovery of Abdullah. Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (PFUJ) General Secretary Ayub Jan Sarhandi also condemned the abduction and illegal detention of the journalist. Talking to The Nation, he urged authorities to safely recover the journalist as soon as possible.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) candidate Saeed Ghani has emerged victorious in PS-114 Karachi by-polls, by bagging 23,840 votes, unofficial and unconfirmed results from all 92 polling stations suggested.
The party supporters resorted to celebrations and congratulations poured in as the unofficial results were announced.
Ghani was followed by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Kamran Tessori, who secured 18,106 votes.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Ali Akbar Gujjar stood third in the run with 5,353 votes to his credit, while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Najeeb Haroon bagged 5,098 votes.
For the first time, Result Management System and Result Transmission System were introduced as a pilot project in PS-114 by-polls for efficient result-making.
Apart from the police, around 2,000 Rangers personnel had been deployed in and around the polling stations to ensure the voting process went smoothly.
Earlier on Sunday, voting for by-election in the Sindh Assembly constituency PS-114 has ended amid allegations of rigging and scattered incidents of chaos in different polling stations.
The polling began at 8am without any delay. All polling stations in the constituency have been declared sensitive.
The polling process was suspended for half an hour at Chanesar Goth polling station after clashes erupted between the activists of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).
The polling was resumed after authorities intervened in the matter and additional Rangers contingent was called in. The activists chanted slogans against each other. Acting swiftly, Rangers personnel intervened in the matter and arrested 11 activists causing disruption in the polling process.
However, no major incident of violence was reported in first three hours.
At least 21 candidates are contesting the by-poll including Pakistan Peoples Party’s Senator Saeed Ghani, Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan’s Kamran Tesori, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Engineer Najeeb Haroon, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Zahoor Ahmed Jadoon and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Ali Akbar Gujjar.