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Archive for category NAWAZ SHARIF US CIA ASSET IN PAKISTAN

HAVE RAWALPINDI BRAINS THEREFORE A PLAN B? by Salman Inqalabi

HAVE RAWALPINDI BRAINS THEREFORE A PLAN B?

Salman Inqalabi

The behavour of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif regarding the case of Indian Agent-cum-Spy-cum Organiser of Terrorism in Pakistan, Kalbhushan Jadhav remains shrouded in mystery. No one has been able to win Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan’s ‘bet’ that he would be prepared to lose Rs. Fifty thousand, if our patriotic Prime Minister mentioned in any of his speeches the name Kalbhushan even once. The implied meaning in Chaudhry Aitzaz’s famous bet is that for our government’s head, a person called Kalbhushan Yadhav doesn’t exist. He could well be a ‘creation’ of our ISI’s imagination. Or a tool invented by our Army to create a wedge between the developing relationship of LOVE and FRATERNITY between the families of Modi and Mian.

It was rumoured in the days before the announcement of Kalbhushan’s trial and conviction in a military court, that secret ‘parleys’ were going on between the House of Modis in India and the House of Sharifs in Pakistan to find a way to bail Kalbhushan Jadhav out. Then the earth shook for Mian. Jadhav was sentenced to death. The story didn’t end there.
The familiar character Jindal made an unexpected and unannounced entry. He came like a monarch in the darkness of an Islamabad night.
Without security clearance. Without notice. Met our Prime Minister in the mountains of Murree. Went back as secretly as he had come.
And now these International Court of Justice proceedings!
Has a wayout been found from the impasse that had been plaguing the love affair of two most powerful political families of the former sub-continent—Mians of Raiwind and Modis of Gujrat?
Behind this sinister love affair, the ‘sublime’ trophy is WEALTH. Untold wealth. Uncountable. Topless. Bottomless. Unfathomable.
The cost to Pakistan ? It’s security. It’s future. Is our Army unaware? Can’t be.
Pakistan security arrangements are not so bad as to allow Jindal’s plane to enter Pakistan’s airspace unnoticed. We have the most alert army in the world.
Have therefore Rawalpindi Brains a plan B?

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The Judgement: a layman’s take

 

 

Nawaz Sharif-The Godfather of Sharif Family Empire of Murderers, Money Launderers, Extortionists, Leeches of Corruption as described by Pakistan Supreme Court Judges.

The Judgement: a layman’s take.

 
After reading the subject judgement, I felt that indeed it was a judgement that may be remembered for a long time to come. But it will be so remembered in parts but for very different reasons. The judgements of two judges will perhaps be remembered for stripping the PM and his family naked by tearing off the cloaks of falsehood behind which they had constructed their defense. The judgements of two other judges will be remembered for being apologists for the Sharif family. And the judgement of the fifth judge will be remembered for excoriating the stance of the PM and his family in his findings, but then giving a judgement at complete variance from these findings i.e for having seen a spade but then refusing to call it thus. On the face of it, it seems that it is this fifth judge who made a shift.
 
On two issues all five judges seem mostly to be of one mind i.e that the explanations proffered by the Sharif family for various acts of commission or omission were woefully frail and not credit worthy; and that the court was not competent to pass any judgement on issues of criminality of the respondents, but was competent to do so on issues of morality i.e the civil aspects of the case/ pleas agitated against this family.
 
A few paras from the judgement of Mr Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan will suffice to elucidate the position of the majority opinion in this case. The important portions of the same will be in inverted commas, where I have quoted from his judgement. The reader must know that in what follows, wherever “respondent No.1” is mentioned, the reference is to Nawaz Sharif.
 
 17. In a proceeding under article 184[3] of the Constitution, a person cannot be considered dishonest if his assets appear to be disproportionate to his means of income etc. ” A reading of Article 4 of the Constitution would reveal that no person shall be compelled to do that which the law does not require him to do. While a reading of Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution and Section 99 of ROPA reveal that none of them requires any member of the Parliament to account for his assets or those of his dependents even if they are disproportionate to his known means of income.”
 
My observation on the above: so far so good. Now let’s see what follows.
 
“21.Now we take up the question whether a case for disqualification of respondent No.1 in terms of Article 62[1] [f] of the Constitution is spelt out by the speeches he delivered inside and outside the Parliament and whether such speeches in view of the provisions contained in Article 66 of the Constitution could be used to his detriment. The case of the petitioners is that speeches delivered by respondent No.1 inside and outside the Parliament are false because of their being in conflict with the statements of respondents No.7 and 8 and contradictory to his own stance taken in his concise statement and that the privilege in terms of Article 66 of the Constitution is not available to him when the matter addressed in his speech delivered in Parliament was essentially personal. But mere contradiction between the speeches of respondent No.1 and statements of respondents No.7 and 8 does not prove any of his speeches false or untrue unless it is determined after examining and cross examining both of them that their statements are correct and true. Where it is not determined that statements of respondent No.7 and 8 are correct and true, no falsity could be attributed to the speeches of respondent No.1. If at all the speeches of respondent No.1 are sought to be used to incriminate him for declaring that he is not honest and ameen he has to be confronted therewith. Where no effort was made to prove the statements of respondents No.7 and 8 to be true and correct, nor was respondent No.1 confronted with his speeches, it would be against the cannons of evidence to use such speeches against him. Once we hold that neither of the speeches of respondent No.1 could be used against him, the question of availability of privilege under Article 66 of the Constitution shall become irrelevant.”
“23……….”However sufficient material as highlighted in para 16 above, has surfaced on the record which prima facie shows that respondent No.1, his dependents and benamidars acquired assets in early nineties and thereafter which being disproportionate to his known means of income call for a thorough investigation.”
The judge then goes on to say that this further investigation would best be done by NAB, but because Chairman NAB is either indifferent or unwilling to do this, a JIT should be formed.
 
Observations:
a. It stands to reason that where his children’s statements differ from those of Nawaz Sharif, the latter cant be accused of falsity. But the judge has completely ignored the prayer of the petitioners that his own address to the Parliament, his address to the nation, and his concise statement to the Supreme Court itself differ from each other, and has made only an oblique ruling on this. Now this can easily be pointed out by any layman, but how come a Judge has not been able to see this. To me this appears to be an omission brought on by deliberate haze/amnesia. And what do you think brought this about? I think I have a pretty good idea about this, but would like to keep my own counsel on this.
b.When Nawaz Sharif was making his statements to the Parliament, to the people of Pakistan, and to the court, these were no ordinary or casual statements. He was attempting to remove a taint from his name which formally got attached to him in wake of the Panama papers being exposed worldwide. In short his were statements which were given after great deliberation, and they were shown to be lies e.g that he had all the records to prove that all transactions which led to the purchase of the flats in London were bona fide and above board, but when the time came to submit these records to the court, despite the exhortations of the court,he could not submit even a shred of such evidence. Now where is the need in this case to “confront” Nawaz Sharif and “cross examine” him as argued by the judge? But this point has been pretty well put to rest in the judgement of Mr Justice Khosa, which I will quote presently.
 
But before I go further, I need to quote Mr Justice Azmat Saeed on a concept which is quite novel for me:: “30…….There can be no manner of doubt that the term ‘honest’ as employed in Article 62[1][f] refers to legal honesty, an objective concept, and not mere moral or ethical honesty, which is subjective.”
 
Observation: Now this one is a real stretch. For one thing, the term “objective concept” is a contradiction in terms. When one talks of a “concept”, how does one bracket it with objectivity or subjectivity? If it is a concept, to my way of thinking, it essentially will be subjective. And pray what is “legal honesty” when detached from its moral and ethical moorings? It is so patently obvious that the judge here is trying to prepare grounds to categorize the telling of lies as something “subjective” i.e to let Nawaz Sharif off the hook. A lie is not something concrete which one can see or touch or examine under a microscope i.e it is not “objective”. And indeed Nawaz Sharif would have been off the hook but for the fact that he volunteered information in order to clear his name three times, and each time, his explanation was different, which means that at least two of his explanations, if not flat out lies, were at least not the whole truth.
 
After reading Mr Justice Azmat Saeed’s “concept” of honesty, the incredulous among us are given some relief by Mr Justice Khosa’s observation:” There are may definitions of the word ‘honest’ but deliberate withholding or suppression of truth is not one of them and the same is in fact an antithesis of honesty.” And further in para 122, without letting us know which judge/s he has in mind, he has a very interesting quote: ” The law is sometimes called an ass but the judge should, as far as it is possible, try not to become one.”
 
In para 83 of his judgement Mr Justice Khosa has this very exhaustive chart which lists the contractions in the statements of the Sharif family, as its members bob and weave to present a plausible and coherent narrative of how their business migrated from Pakistan to Dubai, to Jeddah to London, and is then changed to fit Qatar into the narrative. He then concludes with the observation: ” The material referred to above [i.e the chart] is not controverted by respondent No.1 or his children and the same material is in fact also relied upon by the petitioners. None of the parties has asked us to record any evidence or to call for any evidence. No detailed assessment of such material is required because the material speaks for itself. Res ipsa loqitor [the thing speaks for itself]. Even a layman can appreciate, and one does not have to be a lawman to conclude that what has been told to the nation, the National Assembly or even this court about how the relevent properties in London had been acquired was not the truth. A pedestrian in Pakistan Chowk, Dera Ghazi Khan [a counterpart of Lord Denning’s man on the Clapham omnibus] may not have any difficulty in reaching that conclusion.” [i.e that Nawaz Sharif had lied to the nation, the Parliament, and the Supreme Court to clear his name of various criminal allegations.]
 
If the reader was to read the judgement of Mr Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan, from para 39, right down to the end, one would find there a most damning indictment of the Sharif family, NAB, FIA, and FBR etc. But his final judgement is at complete variance with his observations. Had he stood with Justices Khosa and Gulzar, Pakistan would today have been rid of the cancer eating into its vitals for so many years. It is obvious that spiritually he was on one side, but perhaps, materially he was on the other –the side which, despite all the evidence to the contrary, did not have it in themselves to see the patent and very virulent dishonesty of Nawaz Sharif, and have thus sown the seeds of further turmoil and uncertainty in life of a thoroughly plundered and most unfortunate country.
 
And now a few words on whether Mr Justice Khosa was justified by implying that Nawaz Sharif was the Godfather. To determine this one needs to be clear about who is a Godfather, and what he does.
A Godfather is the head of a criminal enterprise, who lives above the law, and has assets which are massive and which cannot be accounted for. He subverts the police, buys the politicians, and corrupts the judiciary, and uses government servants in the furtherance of his criminal enterprise, all the while making certain that one of his children will one day inherit the same i.e in short, he has in his pocket all such individuals or institutions which can hold him to account, and strives to find immortality through his progeny who are first trained, and then placed to take his criminality forward. He does all this by maintaining a large gang of lackeys and hoodlums.
Now examine Nawaz Sharif against this list and tick mark all the boxes and you will know, if you still have any doubts about, whether or not Mr Justice Khosa’s oblique reference was correct in every detail. The only thing most of us did not really know was the extent to which this man had subverted the judiciary very early on. Mr Justice Khosa has done a signal service to the nation by putting much of this material together in his judgement. Interested readers are invited to read paragraphs 100,101,128,129, and 130 of his judgement. These paragraphs detail, not the entire gamut of his multifarious criminalities, for that will be impossible to do, but concentrate on the few times when the law finally managed to catch up with him, but using Prime Ministerial powers, how he repeatedly got out of the clutches of the law.
 
P.S For me the miracle of the Supreme Court Judgement in the Panama Case remains the wonder that people like Mr Justice Khosa and Mr Justice Gulzar, survived the imperfections of a very corrupt system to reach the very top of their profession. Without Panama we would never have known this, and they would probably have walked into the sunset unsung and unheralded.

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PM should step down until JIT completes probe, says Imran

Thief PM Nawaz Must Go Behind Bars For Life

PM should step down until JIT completes probe, says Imran

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan on Thursday has said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should step down until the JIT completes its investigation. 

Speaking to reporters following the Supreme Court verdict in the Panama Leaks case, Khan said Sharif no longer had any moral authority to continue as prime minister of the country.

“What respect will he have when a government officer calls the prime minister for a criminal inquiry,” he said.

Terming the verdict “a historic judgment in Pakistan’s history”, he said that all five members of the bench have rejected PM Sharif’s explanation of the money trail that led to his children’s offshore holdings.

“I demand Nawaz Sharif to resign today. Sharif should resign because he will not allow an impartial investigation,” he said.

“If Sharif is cleared in 60 days after the joint investigation team’s report, he can continue to serve as the prime minister, but at the moment he has no ethical right to serve on this position,” said the chairman of the PTI.

Imran said that only two of the institutions whose members will be part of the JIT fall under the Chief of Army Staff, while the rest come under the prime minister.

“Hence, he must resign immediately in order for an impartial investigation to be conducted,” said the PTI chairman.

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Prosecutor Pushes for Indictment of South Korean President in Samsung Scandal

S.Korea Prosecutor Ready to Indict Impeached President Ms.Park:

Pakistan Supreme Court Sits on Nawaz Sharif Panama Case Judgement 

Prosecutor Pushes for Indictment of South Korean President in Samsung Scandal

FEB. 28, 2017

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Ms. Park’s presidential powers have been suspended since the impeachment vote in December. The Constitutional Court is expected to rule in the coming weeks on whether she should be reinstated or formally removed from office. Even if she resumes the presidency, her five-year term ends in February, after which she can face criminal charges.

On Monday, Ms. Park’s lawyer, Yu Young-ha, rejected the special prosecutor’s findings, saying his investigation was “politically biased” and “lacking in fairness.” He called the bribery allegation “an absurd fiction.”

But on Monday, Mr. Park, the special prosecutor, who is not related to Ms. Park, said his team found enough evidence that Ms. Park and her confidante, Choi Soon-sil, conspired to collect bribes from Samsung.

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On Feb. 28, he indicted Lee Jae-yong, the third-generation scion of the family that runs Samsung, on charges of giving or promising $38 million in bribes to Ms. Park and Ms. Choi. He also added a bribery charge to the case against Ms. Choi, who is already on trial.

Mr. Lee offered the bribes in return for political favors from Ms. Park, most notably government support for a merger of two Samsung affiliates in 2015 that helped him inherit corporate control of the Samsung conglomerate from his incapacitated father, Lee Kun-hee, the prosecutor said.

Acting on Ms. Park’s order, her aides forced the government-controlled National Pension Service, a major shareholder at the two Samsung companies, to vote for the merger, though it was opposed by many minority shareholders and devalued the pension fund’s own stocks there, the prosecutor said.

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A protest against President Park in Seoul on Saturday. The special prosecutor also said that Ms. Park should face a criminal charge of abusing official power over a blacklist of artists. CreditJung Ui-Chel/European Pressphoto Agency

On Monday, Samsung denied the special prosecutor’s findings.

“Samsung has not paid bribes nor made improper requests seeking favors,” it said in a statement. “Future court proceedings will reveal the truth.”

On Monday, Mr. Park, the special prosecutor, said that the president should also face a criminal charge of abusing official power, saying she conspired with aides to blacklist thousands of artists, writers, and movie directors deemed unfriendly to her government and exclude them from government-funded support programs.

Ms. Park also fired three senior Culture Ministry officials who had been reluctant to discriminate against some of the 9,473 names on the list, the prosecutor said. She demoted and later fired another senior ministry official who had angered Ms. Choi, her friend, by investigating allegations of corruption involving her family, the prosecutor said.

While blackballing unfriendly artists, Ms. Park’s office ensured that pro-government civic groups received special favors, he said.

It asked the Federation of Korean Industries, which lobbies on behalf of Samsung and other big businesses, to provide $5.9 million for those groups between 2014 and 2016, the special prosecutor said. Some of those groups, like the right-wing Korea Parent Federation, have held noisy protests in downtown Seoul calling the critics of Ms. Park “commies.”

Besides Samsung, scores of other South Korean companies were found to have made payments to two foundations controlled by Ms. Choi. But on Monday, the special prosecutor did not recommend further actions against them, and state prosecutors had earlier said that those companies were coerced to donate and were not engaged in bribery.

Ms. Park has repeatedly denied any legal wrongdoing, insisting that she was framed by hostile political forces and that she was not aware of any criminal conspiracy by Ms. Choi. She said she only let Ms. Choi edit some of her speeches and run her personal errands.

On Monday, the special prosecutor said Ms. Park and Ms. Choi had 573 phone conversations between April and October last year using cell phones issued under borrowed names. Of these calls, 127 took place between September, when Ms. Choi left for Germany, and October when she returned home to be arrested.

The prosecutor accused Ms. Park of impeding his investigation. She refused to be questioned by his investigators and also did not allow them to search her office. As a result, he said his team could not fully determine what she was doing at her residence for seven hours in April 2014, when a ferry loaded with hundreds of schoolchildren sank, killing more than 300.

Ms. Park said she was working at the time, getting reports on the disaster. But she has been haunted by lurid rumors, some of them claiming that she was having a romantic encounter or undergoing plastic surgery.

On Monday, the prosecutor said a cosmetic surgeon gave Ms. Park at least five simple face-lifting operations at her residence between 2013 and 2016. Even unlicensed people visited her there to give her nutritional shots and help her with kinesiotherapy and reiki, a form of traditional healing. But investigators could not find evidence that such things took place on the day of the ferry disaster.

Reference

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WHAT A JOKE — RECORD OF PROPERTY BOUGHT IN 2006 WAS LOST DURING 1999 MARTIAL LAW!

Panamagate: No record for Sharifs’ past business dealings, counsel tells Supreme Court

HASEEB BHATTI 

in DAWN, Pakistan

As the Supreme Court resumed hearing the Panamagate case on Wednesday, Advocate Salman Akram Raja picked up his arguments where he had left them off.

After welcoming Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed — whose sudden illness had forced a suspension in the case’s daily hearings — Raja reminded the court that “this is neither a trial nor the defendant a witness.”

“I will only argue this case based on the evidence present,” Raja, who represents Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, continued.

The record for the Sharif family’s business dealings for the last 40 to 45 years cannot be reproduced, the counsel said, as “it was lost during the 1999 martial law.”

The matter can be sent to relevant departments for inquiry as the Arsalan Iftikhar case determined that trials for cases can be held at corresponding forums, Salman Akram Raja told the court.

“A court has never conducted an independent inquiry in any criminal case,” Raja argued, adding that Article 10 of the Constitution says that every citizen of this country deserves a fair trial and that departments formed under the law should be allowed to do their job.

“There is no charge against the Prime Minister, so there is no charge against his children either,” he continued.

“If we suppose that the PM’s children are his employees, according to the National Accountability Bureau’s laws, then the burden of proof does not fall on the defendants,” Raja argued in court.

“This is not a criminal court, so even if Hassan and Hussain Nawaz are suspected, there is no proof against them,” he added.

There were eight questions that the court posed to the defendants, including the relationship between Mian Mohammad Sharif and the Al Sani family, the shares in Nielsen and Nescoll, and the profits the family gained from them, the counsel recalled.

Lawyer Salman Akbar said that Sharif family has ties with more than one Qatari royal family but he cannot disclose the name of other royal families before the court due to certain reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“There were questions about the trust deed as well, and in this hearing, I will answer all these questions,” he told the court.

Justice Khosa advised Raja that he should first finish his arguments before answering the court’s questions.

Moving on to the matter of the London flats, Hussain Nawaz’s counsel argued that the flats were bought by the Al Thani family between 1993 and 1996.

“The Sharif family did not own the flats in 1999, as Hussain Nawaz was given the bearer certificate to the flats by the Al Thani family,” Raja argued. He added that the shares for the flats were given to Minerva Financial Services in 2006.

Upon hearing this argument, Justice Azmat Saeed asked the counsel to provide a paper trail for these transactions, and said, “You have been moving from one point to the other since the beginning, but have failed to provide any evidence in this regard.”

The allegation is that Maryam Nawaz contacted Minerva Holdings, Raja retorted, upon this, the bench asked that evidence should be proved that Hussain Nawaz is the beneficial owner of the offshore companies.

PTI’s new evidence

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) had announced on Tuesday that it would submit three more documents to disprove the stance adopted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, but the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is not convinced.

“We are submitting three more documents — one from PTI chairman Imran Khan that authenticates all previous documents presented by the party, the expert opinion of UK-based lawyers and a document that proves that Maryam Nawaz is the owner of UK-based firms Minerva, Nielson and Nescoll,” PTI spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told a press conference.

He said that Imran Khan would submit an affidavit stating that all documents previously submitted by the party were credible and authentic.

PML-N MNA Daniyal Aziz told Dawn that PTI’s lawyers had already completed their arguments and submitted all the evidence they had to the apex court. “Once they have completed their arguments, how can they file more documents?”

 

From The Guardian. London Archival Report

Search for the millions Sharif ‘stole’

The investigator Pakistan’s PM could not stop


They tortured Rehman Malik by placing his hands and feet on ice for up to an hour at a time at a ‘safe house’ in Islamabad. Three years on, he still has trouble feeling sensations in his palms and soles from the punishment, meted out in black masks, by Nawaz Sharif’s heavies.His neck, too, bears the painful crick from a year spent in solitary confinement in a tiny cell at Rawalpindi’s Adila jail with a brick wrapped in newspapers for a pillow. Malik, in mortal fear of convicted terrorists and official hatchet men, found his monthly half-hour visit from his seven-year-old son his single comfort.

Three times following his arrest in November 1996 the courts ordered Malik’s release. Each time he was re-arrested on trumped up charges until, after 12 months of humiliation, the Pakistani Supreme Court itself ruled his detention illegal.

Malik’s crime? To have been the deputy head of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan’s equivalent of the FBI, investigating allegations of massive corruption by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his family, and cronies.

At 46, he was the youngest officer to reach such a senior rank, the equivalent of an army major-general. In a 20-year career, Malik had gained an impressive reputation in the West for anti-terrorist expertise, including investigation of the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing in New York and of Saudi fundamentalist Osama bin Laden. And, after Malik’s inquiries were publicized by The Observer last year, he started a ball rolling which culminated in the coup against Sharif. ‘I have suffered enormously from doing my duty as a civil servant. My friends, family, and colleagues have been harassed. My life has been at risk,’ Malik told The Observer in his first UK interview since fleeing Pakistan for London after an attempt on his life 15 months ago. ‘I am not a politician, but I welcome the army’s action. They have saved Pakistan from someone who was ruining the country. As a career officer, I would like to return to fulfill my official obligations as soon as possible.’

He is also promising further explosive revelations, which will implicate Sharif and senior Muslim League politicians in allegedly creaming off more of the country’s wealth overseas.

Malik’s report last year was painful enough for the deposed Prime Minister, as were the cat-and-mouse tactics by which Malik has been a thorn in his side since. The 200-page report, smuggled into the country on Sharif’s official Jumbo jet, set out a secret web of fake bank accounts and firms in offshore tax havens through which Sharif’s family allegedly siphoned off more than $70 million (£40m) into London property, Swiss investments and banks in New York.

The family, whose empire grew hugely while Sharif was in office, was also accused of defaulting on $120m of state bank loans, a favourite way of milking the public purse.

According to further documents seen by The Observer, however, the revelations appear to be the tip of an iceberg. Following inquiries over the past year, Malik says he has established further channels by which the Sharif family channelled money illegally offshore.

They include $2.74m allegedly deposited in the account of an Essex-based Pakistani family at the Atlas BOT (Bank of Tokyo) Investment Bank in Lahore as security for loans to four Sharif family members. They also include $4.6m deposited at the Al Faysal Investment Bank in Islamabad as security for a loan to Hamza Board Mills, a paper, and forestry firm in the Sharif family’s Ittefaq group.

Among all his amassed wealth, Sharif also appears to have concealed ownership of a Russian-made Ulan helicopter, which he used during election campaigns. The aircraft, worth more than $1m, was bought from an Arab prince, Sheikh Abdul Rehman Bin Nasir Al Thani of Qatar, in November 1996 and registered in Sharif’s name at the Pakistani Civil Aviation Authority, according to official documents obtained by Malik. It was, however, not declared on Sharif’s statutory filing of assets and liabilities to the country’s Election Commission. ‘This was a man who once told me he could not afford a second-hand Mercedes. How then could he buy a helicopter?’ Malik asks.

Most explosive of all, however, is likely to be Malik’s new investigation, which is almost concluded and alleges laundering of more than $100m offshore via a network of UK trusts, Swiss accounts and offshore havens including Liechtenstein.

An Observer investigation has revealed other instances of alleged corruption during Sharif’s last administration:

• In an emergency budget after Pakistan’s nuclear tests last year, import duties on luxury cars were cut from 325 per cent to 125 per cent. A week later they were restored. In between a friend of Sharif imported 80 cars.

• In 1996 senior figures at Bankers Equity Limited, a finance house granted a huge loan, believed to be more than £10m, to close associates of Sharif. Last summer the bank collapsed and several senior managers, including a friend of Sharif’s, were arrested. The loan is outstanding.

• After the 1997 elections the Sharif family and their business concerns were able to reschedule and renegotiate loans worth nearly £100m from eight banks. When ordered by courts to pay some back they surrendered 33 factories. Only one factory was fully operational, the rest closed, out of order, or both.

Sharif, his family, and former Ministers have consistently dismissed the allegations as politically inspired.

Sharif himself is still in ‘preventative custody’, as the army calls it, in a government guesthouse on the outskirts of Islamabad. General Pervez Musharraf, the self-appointed Chief Executive of Pakistan, has not revealed his plans for the man ousted in a coup 10 days ago. Military sources say the evidence is being gathered to put Sharif on trial for corruption and possibly treason.

Sharif’s former residence, the 100-acre Raiwind estate, near the city of Lahore in eastern Pakistan, is widely seen as a symbol of the opulent lifestyle the Sharifs have led since their pursuit of power and wealth began to pay off 15 years ago. Last week The Observer was the first Western newspaper to visit it since Sharif’s fall.

Brand new roads lead out of Lahore, where the Sharifs have two other houses, to the walled 100-acre estate. A turning leads to a helicopter pad and a set of steel gates. Beyond is an open, grassy compound where five houses, all in white-washed villa style, lie in a rough circle around a man-made pond. Each has a huge colonnaded porch sheltering a £20,000 four-wheel drive Jeep. Two of the buildings are partially constructed as is a pool, though a lake stocked with fish is completed. There is a small zoo.

All the houses are similar, with deep red carpets and velvet curtains throughout. Sharif’s own house is distinguished by the number of televisions – the Prime Minister was gadget crazy. Now army machine gunners have replaced the bodyguards who previously watched the compound’s perimeter. And the muzzles of their weapons point in as much as out.

Raiwind is, to the ousted Prime Minister’s critics at least, a symbol of how his administration manipulated government to benefit itself.

According to opposition spokesmen, Sharif has ‘used public office for personal economic gain’. It is corruption, they say, even if it is within the letter of the law.

Soon after coming to power for a second time in February 1997 Sharif declared the Raiwind site to be the ‘Prime Minister’s Camp Office’ – his home away from the capital. The local municipal authority took on the estate’s maintenance at an estimated annual cost of 40 million Pakistani rupees (£500,000) and built a new road for it, while the state has also supplied gas, electricity and a 200-line telephone exchange.

Near Raiwind last week feelings were mixed about Sharif’s fall. Many remain loyal to a man they see as a local boy made good. ‘He has done a lot around here,’ said Ahmadullah Ali, a farmer. ‘He is a good man.’ In the rough and tumble world of Pakistani politics, Sharif may be down, but he still isn’t out.

 Reference Courtesy

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