NAB planning to take up new cases against Sharifs
ISLAMABAD, April 29: In the wake of a fresh confrontation between the government and opposition, the National Accountability Bureau is planning to take up fresh cases against opposition leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, informed sources told Dawn on Sunday.
The fresh row between the PPP and the PML-N has virtually scuppered what some political observers term a ‘hidden deal’ between the two parties.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik raised the political temperature when he claimed on Saturday that he had documentary evidence of some corruption cases against the Sharif brothers and he would refer them to NAB.
“The NAB will definitely take up cases of the Sharif brothers on merit if any complaints are filed against them,” NAB’s spokesperson Dr Ayesha Siddiqua told Dawn.
“NAB has a compliant-driven programme and if the government files any complaint against Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif we will investigate it like other cases,” she said.
NAB chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari hinted at a ‘hidden deal’ when he said that President Asif Ali Zardari had instructed him not to open cases against Mr Nawaz Sharif because he did not want a political confrontation to go up in the country. “The NAB chief in his fresh interview with a magazine has clearly mentioned that he has not opened cases against Nawaz Sharif on the directives of President Asif Ali Zardari,” Dr Siddiqua said.
Sources said some cases were pending in NAB against the Sharif brothers related to default on Rs4.9 billion loans obtained from nine different banks in 1994-95.
“Cases against Sharif brothers were to be approved in a recently held NAB’s board meeting but were deferred on the directive of the NAB chairman,” said a senior NAB official.
NAB had frozen some assets of the Sharif family on which banks loans had been taken, but the Supreme Court upheld a judgment of the Lahore High Court in January and directed NAB to release the assets.
A document obtained from NAB said that the Sharif brothers had defaulted on bank loans taken from the National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited, United Bank Limited, Muslim Commercial Bank, Punjab Mudaraba, Bank of Punjab, Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan (now the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited), Pakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation and ICP Bank.
At his press conference on Saturday, Mr Malik also gave an indication of ‘a hidden deal’ when he said that he had solid evidence against the Sharif brothers but he had not made them public on instructions of President Zardari.
PML-N spokesman Mushahidullah rejected the allegations levelled by PPP leaders and said there was no ‘hidden deal’ between the two parties.
“The NAB chairman is telling a lie as there is no such deal,” he claimed. He also rejected allegations that the Sharif brothers had defaulted on bank loans.
“If Mian Sahib would have defaulted on any bank loan why the PML-N in its 10-point agenda presented to the government last year demanded of the government to make public details of all bank loans not paid by politicians,” he said.
Talking about corruption allegations levelled by the interior minister, Mr Mushahidullah said similar allegations had been levelled against the party and its leadership in 1993 by PPP leader Zahid Sarfaraz, but nothing was proved.
“If Rehman Malik has any evidence why does not he take practical action against the Sharif brothers,” the PML-N spokesman asked.
He said Mr Malik had been called ‘a leader of liars’ not by opposition leaders but a leader of ruling PPP and former home minister of Sindh Zulfiqar Mirza.