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Pakistan

Govt has failed to prove corruption allegations: Shehbaz

  • Says decision of UK's National Crime Agency in his favour vindicates stance of PML-N
  • Information minister responds to Shehbaz's statement, says decision has nothing to do with Pakistan government
Published September 29, 2021

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif has said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has failed to prove corruption cases against him and his family and its lies have been exposed in front of the nation.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore on Wednesday, in reaction to the UK National Crime Agency's (NCA) verdict in his favor in a money-laundering case, Shehbaz said that the Pakistan government failed to provide any evidence of corruption in the London court.

He added that the NCA gave a clean chit after conducting investigations against him and his son Suleman Shehbaz.

The opposition leader maintained that the government tried to involve his elder brother Nawaz Sharif and his family in the case but failed. "A fake news was published in the Daily Mail against me about money laundering charges but so far, the newspaper has not submitted a reply in response to the allegations," he mentioned.

UK's National Crime Agency restores bank accounts of Shehbaz Sharif, son

"If anything had surfaced during the investigations then a criminal case would have been registered against us."

The PML-N president elaborated that the PTI government was levelling corruption allegations against him for the past three years but now the truth has come to light. He said that NCA is a top British probing agency and it submitted documents in the court, requesting it to dismiss cases against him and his son as there was no evidence to prove the corruption charges.

Sharif family has become habitual to distorting the truth: Fawad

Responding to Shehbaz's press conference, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry Hussain said that “he lied for more than one hour during the briefing."

"When we talk about accountability, we talk about handing over the looted money back to the people of Pakistan," the minister said. Fawad added that the court trial of Shehbaz and his family should be held on a day to day basis.

The minister emphasised that the “money-laundering probe started against the Sharif family in the UK was not started upon the request of the Pakistani government."

He said that the inquiry by the UK's NCA was launched into the accounts of a frontman named Zulfiqar Ahmed. "The NCA had started probing the accounts of Zulfiqar Ahmed and Suleman Shehbaz. It was the agency's own decision [and had nothing to do with the Pakistani government]."

The information minister further said that the "Sharif family has become habitual to distorting the truth."

"Unfortunately, fake news was disseminated two days ago and all those involved in publishing the news are well-known to the public for having ties with the Sharif family," Fawad said.

Impression of Shehbaz's acquittal incorrect

On September 28, Adviser to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar said that the ruling by a British court does not mention the acquittal of Shehbaz and his son Suleman in the money laundering case.

In a media briefing, Akbar said that the impression about the acquittal of the PML-N president and his son from a London court was incorrect.

The SAPM maintained that the investigation by the NCA against Suleman and some of his family members was not initiated at the request of the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) or NAB, but Pakistan was contacted over the two suspicious transactions by the NCA.

"Pakistan responded to the NCA on the questions asked by it, but the case was not filed by Pakistan," he added.

He mentioned that the NCA had decided to stop investigations in the case and agreed to release the funds through court. "Such a release order is not an acknowledgment that funds are from a legitimate source," he remarked.

Impression about acquittal of Shehbaz, his son from British court is incorrect: SAPM Akbar

“There is no acquittal of any sort as reported as there was no trial. Funds were frozen by NCA and NCA has decided to not investigate these funds anymore.”

He pointed out that the opposition leader is facing money laundering charges in Pakistani courts and the statements of the witnesses are being recorded. "The verdict will come soon in the cases," he said.

British court unblocks accounts

On September 27, a British court ordered the unfreezing of the bank accounts of Shehbaz and Suleman, after the NCA concluded there was no evidence of money laundering, fraud, and criminal conduct against the two in Pakistan, Dubai, and the UK.

The Westminster Magistrates Court’s Judge Nicholas Rimmer set aside the two accounts freezing orders (AFO) against Shehbaz and his son related to a December 2019 case filed by the NCA.

The NCA had conducted a 17-month long probe in which it examined Shehbaz's financial transactions over the past 20 years. The bank accounts of Shehbaz and Suleman were frozen in December 2019 on a court order.

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