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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed a ministerial committee, which has been formed to investigate the Broadsheet LLC saga, to present it findings within 45 days.

This was revealed by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz, who also heads the ministerial committee, while addressing a press conference on Tuesday in Islamabad.

While talking to media along with committee members, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, Faraz said that PM Imran Khan has directed the three-member ministerial committee to make facts in the scandal involving the London-based asset recovery fund and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) public.

Faraz said once the investigation was completed, the government would take stern action against those who benefited out of it.

The information minister said the government would probe all names that surfaced in the London High Court’s judgment.

He further said the committee would comprise a former judge of the High Court or Supreme Court, a senior officer from the FIA, Attorney General Office, and any officer nominated by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The federal cabinet has also decided to hold a thorough investigation into the Broadsheet scandal in order to expose the elements involved in looting the national wealth, he added.

“How unfortunate it is that those who have plundered the country in the past are now gathered in the form of the PDM and are seeking yet another NRO. They have benefited from the NRO they had taken in the past. How they have benefited from the NRO and made assets through corruption whose example could not be found in the past, he said.

Regarding the PDM’s protest outside the Election Commission’s Office, Faraz expressed “gratitude” to the people of the twin cities for “rejecting” the narrative of the opposition.

Fawad Chaudhary said the Sharif family is an “artist in reshaping corruption,” adding that “Maryam Nawaz does not lack confidence, and it was reflected from how she presented in Calibri font.”

“The Maulana is facing isolation and pain after being ousted from power,” he said, adding that Broadsheet was registered in 1999 during the Pervez Musharraf’s rule and was assigned to search illegal assets of Pakistanis in Asia, America, and Europe.

He said Broadsheet LLC was responsible for tracing assets owned by politicians in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Asian countries.

In June 2000, the NAB gave 200 people’s name to the Broadsheet and Ishaq Dar’s name was not included in that list, and Talat Ghumman gave a “justification” that Dar’s name was not included because he was helping the NAB, and subsequently, became an approver against Nawaz Sharif.

He said initially, the accountability bureau had given a list of 200 individuals that needed to be probed.

“The tale of corruption in Pakistan is incomplete without Ishaq Dar. He was obviously among the 200 individuals,” he added.

Shehbaz Sharif deposited 7.34 million dollars in the NAB in 2000 but “when the PML-N government came to power the then Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary returned the money to Shehbaz Sharif via legal proceedings in the court.”

“In 2016, an arbitration decision came against Pakistan but there was no news about this decision in Pakistan, and in the meantime, a committee was constituted 76 properties of Nawaz Sharif were identified in the UAE, the UK and Saudi and presented to Pakistan and there was evaluation of $850 million worth which was calculated on $100 million and the NAB was asked to pay, he said, added the name of Dar was removed later on as Broadsheet was told that he was cooperating with the NAB.

“Assets worth $114 million owned by the Sharif family have been traced,” he said.

Dr Mazari said: “It was a massive amount which was a part of the corruption they had been doing throughout their tenures. Panama was the first episode and Broadsheet was the second. The Sharif family has already availed two NROs.”

Maryam added that “if Maryam Nawaz reads the judgments in the Broadsheet LLC saga, she would be ashamed of it. And she [Maryam] is looking for a third NRO.

She said the country had been looted twice, once when corruption and money laundering was done, and the second time, when those people were saved and no investigation was conducted.

She said an inquiry should be conducted to see who benefited and how, adding that the TORs of the people committee had been finalized.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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