Oct 052018
Shahbaz Sharif remanded to NAB custody for 10 days in Ashiana housing scam

An accountability court in Lahore on Saturday granted 10-day physical remand of PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case. Shahbaz — who was taken into custody by the NAB a day earlier — was produced before the accountability court while the watchdog sought his custody. The hearing today was originally scheduled to take place inside the judge’s chamber, but was later moved to an open court following PML-N lawyers’ protest. “I did not do anything illegal,” Shahbaz was quoted as saying during the hearing. “[I] have always worked for the prosperity of this country. “We recovered millions from those who looted [the country] and deposited [the recoveries] in the national treasury,” he added. Shahbaz is accused of ordering the cancellation of a contract given to successful bidder Chaudhry Latif and Sons for the Ashiana Housing Scheme, and engineering the subsequent award of the contract to Lahore Casa Developers, a proxy group of Paragon City Private Limited, resulting in a loss of Rs193 million to the exchequer. In court today, Shahbaz’s counsel Amjad Pervez seemed to justify the former Punjab CM’s cancellation of the said contract. “Chaudhry Latif is an absconder in an anti-corruption case,” Pervez said. “In one case, Chaudhry Latif’s company is blacklisted.” Following the hearing, Shahbaz was sent back to the NAB office — where he had spent the previous night — in an armoured vehicle amid tight security. Later on, in his full order, Judge Syed Najamul Hasan [Read More…]

Jul 282017

Nawaz Sharif, who resigned from his post after the top court disqualified him on Friday over corruption claims against his family, has said he wished to see his brother Shehbaz Sharif appointed the next prime minister. In a meeting with his confidants, Nawaz said though the final decision on who should be appointed the next prime minister would be made in a parliamentary meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, he hoped that Shehbaz, the chief minister of Punjab, would be chosen for the post, Express News reported. Panama Papers case: SC disqualifies PM Nawaz Sharif However, he added that the party would also have to consider options for the Punjab chief minister’s post in case Shehbaz was appointed the prime minister. The Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in a landmark decision after a corruption probe into his family wealth, cutting short his third stint in power. PM Nawaz resigns after SC order to disqualify him The top court five-judge larger bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa unanimously announced the verdict, disqualifying the PM for failing to disclose his un-withdrawn salary as chairman of UAE-based offshore company Capital FZE. The Prime Minister’s office said in a statement that Sharif has “stepped down” despite having “serious reservations” about the judicial process. The federal cabinet also stands dissolved.     The post I wish to see Shehbaz as the next PM: Nawaz appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Feb 022017
Dar's confessional statement taken under duress: Khawaja Asif

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday said that the confessional statement of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, given to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) during Musharraf's regime, was obtained under duress and that he himself was a witness of the torture faced by Dar. "Being a political worker I don't think that it would be decent for me to describe my ordeal and what I faced when I was imprisoned, particularly after Musharraf's coup in October, 1999. But I want to mention that Dar was held at his house till Feb, 2000, and subjected to interrogation multiple times during this period," Asif said while talking to Geo News TV on Thursday. "On February 11, 2000, we were shifted to Chanba House and later transported to Attock Fort," he added. Ishaq Dar had submitted a confessional statement regarding money laundering before the magistrate on April 25, 2000. Allegations against Dar claim he had admitted to money laundering of $14.86 million, and opening two bank accounts under the names of Sikandar Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi for Nawaz Sharif's brother. Asif claimed that during the course of interrogations and detentions, several employees of Ittefaq Foundry were also kept along with them in detention centres. "These employees were also subjected to torture and we used to listen their screams till late in the night." "When they were tortured to reveal information about the businesses of Ittefaq Foundry, they put all the blame on Ishaq Dar. As a result, the investigators used to torture [Read More…]

Dec 162016

PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak on Friday moved the Peshawar High Court against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Inspector General Mushtaq Sukhera for subjecting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers to torture on October 31. The petition appealed to the PHC to declare shelling, torturing and blockade of roads by the respondents, including police officers of Punjab, illegal. The petition was filed by Khattak, K-P Health Minister Shahram Tarakai and Education Minister Atif Khan through their counsel Babar Awan. The petitioners adopted the stance that they (the demonstrators) were exercising their fundamental right to join a peaceful assembly in the federal capital which they were not allowed to exercise. The federal government, it said, had declared the assembly unlawful, barred the protesters from moving around freely in Islamabad and deliberate targeting of the K-P CM,  the petition said. It said PTI workers gathered at the Swabi interchange were unarmed and peaceful where CM Khattak and K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser addressed them. Then they started marching peacefully towards Islamabad to remind the federal government to come clean on the Panama financial scandal. There the Punjab police, on the orders of the federal and Punjab governments, resorted to indiscriminate baton charge and tear gas shelling without lawful cause. “Thousands of people were injured and hundreds fell unconscious due to the use of expired tear gas against innocent people. “That the vehicle of the chief minister was specifically targeted with intense shelling and video grabs of private TV channels were [Read More…]

Jun 102016
In PM’s absence : Is Shahbaz running the show ‘unofficially’?

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is ‘unofficially’ at the helm of affairs at the Centre in a bid to iron out serious differences between federal ministers over running the federal government in the absence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sometime back, a group of PML-N lawmakers requested Shahbaz to unofficially take charge of government affairs until his elder brother was back in office in view of differences among powerful members of the federal cabinet. The premier is currently recuperating in London after an open heart surgery. On account of his speedy recovery, he has been discharged from the hospital and shifted home. Last month, the ruling PML-N deliberated on different options to run government affairs in his absence. However, the scenario hardly left space for any minister to function as the premier’s temporary replacement. Subsequently, Shahbaz was requested to intervene and take charge till his elder brother was back in business. Before he left for London, the prime minister delegated his authority to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar but the decision did not go down well with some powerful members of the cabinet, who reportedly hold grudges against one another. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of these legislators from Rawalpindi told The Express Tribune that Shahbaz was found to be the only agreeable name in the scenario. “Nobody except him was acceptable as a replacement of the PM, not even on a temporary basis,” he said. According to him, the matter was taken up with Shahbaz prior to the premier’s [Read More…]

Apr 172016

LAHORE:  More local and foreign investment is needed to strengthen the province’s economy, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Sunday. He was presiding over a meeting to review proposals for the re-organisation and reform of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT). “It is the basic responsibility of the board to promote investment and strengthen the economy of the province. The board will have to perform its duties with hard work and innovation for the promotion of local and foreign investment in the province,” he said. Shahbaz Sharif said that a clear roadmap was needed for achieving the targets for enhancing local and foreign investment. “PBIT officials should adopt a clear roadmap and ensure its implementation. A close contact should be maintained with concerned departments to achieve investment targets within the stipulated period,” he said. The CM said that increased investment would enhance economic activities. “It will also create new job opportunities. The Punjab Board of Investment and Trade has to work in an active and vibrant manner for promoting investment,” he said. The chief minister said that result-oriented steps were vital for promoting investment and providing facilities to local and foreign investors. “The investment board will have to give results in accordance with latest demands. There is vast scope for investment in various sectors in the province. The PBIT has to play its active role in promoting investment in agriculture, industry, livestock, energy and other sectors,” he said. He said that the target set for private sector investment [Read More…]

Jan 052016

LAHORE:  Rs40 billion will be distributed in interest-free loans among two million people during the next three years to make them self-reliant, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said on Tuesday. He was addressing a ceremony held to distribute cheques for interest-free loans under the Chief Minister’s Self Employment Scheme at Badshahi Masjid. Ministers Malik Nadeem Kamran, Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Chaudhry Sher Ali, Malik Iqbal Channer, Adviser on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique and thousands of loan recipients were present. The chief minister said that interest-free loans amounting to Rs17 billion had been disbursed among 0.8 million people during the last few years. “Similarly, Rs1 billion in loans have been given to 25,000 people in the province today (Tuesday),” he said. He said those opposed to public welfare programmes could not stop the government from continuing to serve the masses. “All out efforts will be made to eliminate poverty, ignorance and unemployment from the country. The Chief Minister’s Self Employment Scheme has become a movement. It is a splendid programme to reduce the gulf between the rich and the poor. Billions of rupees will be provided for the welfare of those striving for progress and development of the country,” he said. The chief minister said that the self employment scheme had been launched for those who could start their own businesses and support their families instead of being a burden on the society. “Collective efforts are needed for national development and prosperity. It is the only way to move ahead. There are [Read More…]