Nawaz denies ownership of London properties

ISLAMABAD: May 21, 2018 Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday denied ownership of the London properties, saying he was not privy to any transactions for the acquisition of the flats. The PML-N supremo, his daughter Maryam, and son-in-law Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar, have been asked to record final statements in their defence in the references under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code and to produce, on record, anything contradicting the statements of the 19 prosecution witnesses in the case. Accountability Judge Muhammad Bashir had prepared a questionnaire of 128 questions and handed it over to the counsel representing the Sharif family on May 16. According to the questionnaire, the court has asked Nawaz if he was the benami owner of Nescoll and Nielsen, the two offshore companies that were shown as having ownership of the Avenfield flats. Testifying before the court on Monday, Nawaz said, “I was never involved in or associated with the acquisition of the London properties through any real or beneficial title.” Regarding the money trail of the London properties, Nawaz said, “I have never been a participant in or eyewitness to any of the transactions mentioned in Tariq Shafi’s affidavit.” Nawaz said that he could not say anything about the documents his son Hussain had submitted in the apex court with regard to the London apartments. Hussain is also accused in this case but has been absconding since the trial began. Responding to a question regarding his address to the nation and his speech on the floor of the National Assembly, Nawaz said, “I never stated on those occasions that I was ever a real or beneficial owner of the London flats. Rather, it has always been my constant stance that I was neither a real or benami owner of the Avenfield flats.” In reply to a query relating to forensic expert Robert M Radley, Nawaz said that Radley was not a “font expert” and that he had admitted in his statement that the Calibri font was available prior to its launch in 2007. Regarding the Gulf Steel Mills, Nawaz said that he does not directly know where the funds for the creation of the factory came from. “However, Tariq Shafi’s statement suggests that the Gulf Steel Mills were created through loans.” Nawaz testified that he was not aware of how Gulf Steel Mills ran and was not a witness to how it was sold, adding that his knowledge about the matter was based on hearsay. “Tariq Shafi was neither named a suspect in these trials nor was he called in as a witness in the case,” Nawaz said during his testimony. “It is a reality that I was taken into custody on October 12, 1999. After that I was sent off to Saudi Arabia,” Nawaz said, adding that he is aware that his father Mian Sharif had made Hussain and Maryam Nawaz directors of Hudaibiya Paper Mills. “I also know that Hassan Nawaz was made a shareholder in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills by my deceased father,” he added. Addressing claims that Shehbaz Sharif and Shafi rejected signing an agreement in 1980, Nawaz said, “I can’t say anything, as no such denial took place in my presence nor have Tariq Shafi or Shehbaz Sharif have been produced as witnesses in the case to depose against me.”

Can’t call Nawaz traitor because of a single statement: Bilawal

NAUNDERO: May 17, 2018 Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Thursday that he was a political opponent of PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif but he could not call him a traitor because of a single statement. “Nawaz Sharif’s statement is wrong and irresponsible since he has ruled the country thrice as the Prime Minister. It should be strongly condemned,” he said while talking to newsmen during an Iftar party at Bhutto House. Bilawal said that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was following a certain script and he wanted to ‘sink all and save himself’. “I urge him to change this attitude,” Bilawal said. Further, the PPP chief said that relying on his current strategy Nawaz Sharif was increasing his issues instead of resolving them. He said Nawaz’s talk about Khalai Makhlooq [a euphemism for the powerful military establishment] was not with the wellbeing of the people at his heart. “He was asked to submit his money trail, instead of replying to the questions posed to him, he has started a campaign asking why he was disqualified,” Bilawal said, adding that the federal government had raised the issue of merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas ahead of elections merely for political point scoring. Dispelling impressions about the Makhdoom family’s differences with the Peoples Party leadership, Bilawal said, “Makhdooms of Hala were with us yesterday, they are in the party today and they shall remain in the party tomorrow as well.” -- DT

MQM-P Factions Announce Joint Rally In Karachi On May 5

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's Bahadurabad and PIB factions on Wednesday announced holding a joint rally in Karachi's Liaquatabad area on May 5. Speaking at a joint press conference at Bahadurabad office, Farooq Sattar said the two factions have decided to hold a joint rally at Tunki Ground in Liaquatabad. On the occasion, Sattar was flanked by Bahadurabad faction members Kunwar Naveed, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Amir Khan. Earlier, Sattar announced taking back his call for May 4 rally in a bid to hold a joint public gathering with the Bahadurabad group at the Tunki Ground. The senior party leader arrived at the party's Bahadurabad office after the media briefing. He was welcomed by Faisal Subzwari and Amin-ul-Haq. "There shouldn’t be two camps at the Tunki Ground. There should be a joint press conference. Let's start a new journey by not taking into account our past. We cant resolve our differences without Muhajir unity," he said. Sattar said that 90 percent of the Pak Sarzameen Party members will come back into the party fold if MQM-Pakistan is able to hold a joint-rally. "I am saying from last two days there shouldn't be two gatherings. It shouldn't be the case that we have invited Farooq Sattar in our gathering," he said. Both the factions of the party has announced to hold public gatherings in reaction to a rally by the Pakistan Peoples Party at the stronghold of the MQM-P in the metropolis on Monday. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in the rally came down hard on the party by saying that his party will free Karachi from 'Mustaqil Qaumi Musibat', adding that Karachi's mandate was always hijacked by use of force. "PPP is not the party of target killers or sector commanders. We didn't run the city's affairs on directions received from London," he said, adding that if the founder of MQM was considered wrong for his political stance, so should his associates.

Khawaja Asif challenges disqualification in SC

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader and former foreign minister Khawaja Asif on Wednesday filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Islamabad High Court (IHC) verdict disqualifying him as the member of parliament for life. On April 26, 2018, the IHC had disqualified Khawaja Asif as the lawmaker under Article 62(1)(f) of the constitution for not disclosing his employment in a UAE company as an occupation as well as the monthly salary he was drawing. The court had ruled that Khawaja Asif was not qualified to contest the general election of 2013 from NA-110 as he did not fulfill the conditions described under Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution read with Section 99(1)(f) of the Act of 1976. In his petition, Khawaja Asif has contended that he had not concealed his foreign bank account intentionally while submitting his nomination forms for the 2013 general elections. He also contended that the IHC declared the mistake ‘dishonesty’ without any evidence, which was against the norms of justice. The petitioner requested the apex court to declare the IHC verdict null and void and that the notification issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan should be withdrawn. He submitted that he had already declared the bank account and the iqama before the petition against him was filed, adding that the amount kept by him in the bank account equated to only 0.5 percent value of his declared assets. He contended that the IHC did not consider the local and the UAE laws while handing down the judgment, thus the verdict was based on assumptions. He stated that he unintentionally failed to disclose his foreign work permit in his nomination papers, however, IHC disqualified him on this unintentional omission. He has prayed the apex court to declare the IHC verdict null and void and fix his petition for hearing. The IHC judgment primarily relied upon the recent Supreme Court verdicts, which disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Jahangir Tareen. A subsequent judgment of the apex court declared that the disqualification was for life.

MQM-P files disqualification petition against 12 defectors

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (PIB faction) leader Dr Farooq Sattar submitted on Wednesday petitions seeking disqualification of 12 lawmakers who defected from the party. The petition, which was submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan in Karachi, sought immediate disqualification of MQM parliaments. The names of the members stated in the petition include MPAs Naheed Bedum, Heer Sohu, Naila Munir, Saifuddin Khalid, Muhammad Kamran, Saleem Rajput, Anwar Raza, Sameeta Afzal and Yousaf Shahwani. Moreover, names of MNAs Fouzia Hameed, Muzammil Qureshi and Mahboob Alam are also mentioned in the petition. MQM-Pakistan also submitted a petition requesting ECP to not allow change of opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly. The speaker of Sindh Assembly should be restricted from not changing the opposition leader, reads the petition. In December last year, Sattar had filed reference seeking disqualification of two MNAs and nine MPAs who defected from the party. Among the party lawmakers against whom Dr Sattar filed disqualification references included MNAs Asif Hasnain and Salman Baloch and MPAs from the Sindh Assembly Irum Azeem Farooqi, Sheikh Abdullah, Khalid bin Wilayat, Dilawar Khan and five others who recently broke away from the party.

MQM-P factions announce rally at Tunki ground

KARACHI: In a bid to express show of power both the factions of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan announced on Monday to hold public gatherings at the Tunki ground, a day after Pakistan Peoples’ Party held its gathering in the area considered to be a stronghold of the MQM-P. The MQM-P Bahadurabad group has announced to hold a public rally at May 5 while the Sattar-led party faction has called for the gathering on May 6. MQM-Pakistan PIB faction leader Dr Sattar took jibes at the PPP leader during his Yadgar-e-Shuhda graveyard visit by saying that its very important to show a mirror to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. "Oppression is going on from the very first PPP government. Urdu was being replaced as the official language in the province. People who were protesting against it were killed in the riots," he said. "Bilawal should apologise to the heirs of the martyrs." Sattar said that the gathering was held from the resources of Karachi. "One can do gathering on the basis of power, but one cant win hearts through it. The urban Sindh is not given funds from last 30 years. People of Karachi and Hyderabad are stopped from getting jobs and admissions in colleges through the implementation of Quota system." The MQM-P leader demanded from the authorities to conduct open-trial of Uzair Baloch.

PPP stages ‘massive’ show in MQM stronghold

KARACHI: ICMD, April 29, 2018 Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that his party will free Karachi from ‘Mustaqil Qaumi Musibat’. Taking a jibe at his party’s arch-rival Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), he said that the mandate of Karachi has always been hijacked with the help of guns. “PPP is not the party of target killers and sector commanders. We don’t run the city on directions from London. The PPP chairman said that the MQM-PIB faction leader Farooq Sattar says that Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar is reluctant to be accountable for Rs 5 billion. Bilawal also paid tribute to the martyrs of the party while addressing a party rally at the Liaquatabad’s Tanki Ground. He said that certain forces did not like the relationship between the people of the city and the party. “Seeds of hatred were put to stop PPP. You have seen what happened in last 30 last years,” he said. “Only those who love Karachi can resolve the issues of this city.” “Karachi is my home. No matter where I go Karachi is my introduction. We are the ones who brought peace to this city as we couldn’t tolerate lawlessness in the city. We launched the Karachi Operation under Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah which solved the city’s crime problems,” claimed the PPP chairman. Bilawal said that if the politics of MQM-founder’s and his associates are questionable. “We were against the politics of MQM-founder from day one but those who can’t be loyal to their leader, how can they be yours? They may have left him, but are still pursuing his politics.” The PPP chairman appealed to the people of Karachi to vote for him because even though his party’s mandate was stolen, he works for the city’s development day and night. Earlier, CM Murad Ali Shah, Saeed Ghani, Shery Rehman and Raza Rabbani addressed the gathering