Dar’s ‘affidavit’ the real money trail of London flats: Imran

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s affidavit, given in a money laundering reference against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders 17 years ago, remained the focus of press conferences by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the PML-N leaders following Monday’s hearing of the Panamagate case.

PTI chairperson Imran Khan termed Mr Dar’s statement proof of the “real money trail” of the prime minister’s offshore assets, while PML-N leaders challenged the veracity of the statement given under duress during General Pervaiz Musharraf’s military rule.

Mr Dar had given a handwritten statement to a magistrate on April 25, 2000, alleging that the Sharif brothers had used the Hudaibya Paper Mills as a cover for money laundering in the late 1990s.

After becoming an approver, Mr Dar had confessed that he had laundered Nawaz Sharif’s money, said Mr Khan, adding that this was the actual money trail of the PM’s London flats.

PML-N argues that the affidavit was given under duress

He said Mr Dar had given the statement while being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and when he filed an appeal against the NAB court decision in a high court, the bureau did not challenge it. “That is because the NAB chairperson was appointed by Nawaz Sharif.”

He said the Supreme Court had also directed NAB to provide documentary evidence as to why it had not gone into an appeal against the high court’s decision.

The prime minister has even made his own father, Mian Sharif, a ‘money launderer’ by placing the onus of their offshore investments on him, the PTI chief said.

The Sharif family’s Gulf Steel Mill had been running a huge loss, approximately 15 million dirhams in Dubai, how could it have been sold off for 12m dirhams, Mr Khan questioned.

On the other hand, PML-N’s Daniyal Aziz and Prime Minister’s Adviser Mussadiq Malik held a press conference at the Press Information Department where they claimed that Mr Dar’s statement had been obtained under duress.

“When a person is taken to the basement of Attock Fort, he says whatever he is asked to say,” said Mr Malik.

The adviser said Mr Dar’s case had been tried thrice in the past and the decisions had been in his favour. “Double jeopardy law does not allow the trial of a person more than once on a specific issue.”

Govt issues order to place JuD chief Hafiz Saeed under house arrest

The provincial authorities on Monday issued orders to place Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed under house arrest, DawnNews reported and JuD spokesperson later confirmed.

The government launched a crackdown against JuD and a heavy contingent of police was deployed around the JuD headquarter and offices in Muridke and Lahore.

“A large police team arrived (at JuD headquarters) and told us that Hafiz would be placed under house arrest,” said the secretary of information for JuD, Nadeem Awan.

Awan said the police told them they had an arrest warrant for Saeed and five others at JuD headquarters.

Hafiz Saeed was reportedly present at the Qudsia Mosque located in Chauburji area of Lahore. Contingents of police and other law-enforcing agencies reached the area and surrounded the premises, sources said.

Police sources further informed that Saeed will be shifted to his residence in the Johar Town area of the provincial capital, which will then be declared as a sub-jail.

Saeed has been detained under Section 11-EEE(1) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1977, a notification issued by the interior ministry said.

Meanwhile, the district intelligence committee has suggested it to the government to put the JuD chief’s name in fourth schedule.

Moreover, national flags have been hoisted at the JuD offices in Lahore, instead of party flags, on the directives of provincial home department, it added.

The provincial authorities have also started to remove the banners of JuD from the roads of Lahore.

The move comes after years of pressure on Pakistan to put Saeed on trial and could ease recently escalating tensions with neighbour and arch-foe India.

Also read: Why aren’t we taking action against Hafiz Saeed, PML-N lawmaker asks

Saeed had been accused by the United States and India of masterminding the 2008 attacks on the Indian financial capital Mumbai that killed 166 people.

He, however, has repeatedly denied involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Awan said the Pakistani government had been under pressure from the United States to take action against Saeed or face sanctions. “This government has buckled under the pressure.”

In 2012, the United States announced a bounty of $10 million on Hafiz Saeed for his alleged role in the attack in which six American citizens were also killed.