Sharifs say all loans settled by Dec 2014

Source: Published in Politics on Thursday, July 09, 2015

LAHORE: ‘Offended’ at the inclusion of its name in a list of mega scandals submitted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to the Supreme Court, members of the Sharif family sought to clarify its position on Wednesday.

“The Sharif family has paid Rs5.22 billion by December 2014 under the head of all loans, mark-up, cost of fund and other charges payable by Ittefaq Foundries and a consortium of banks has issued clearance certificates in this regard,” Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said at a press conference as “a representative of the Sharif family”.

“There is no example of such a big settlement in the banking history of Pakistan where besides capital, mark-up of 17 years, cost of fund and other charges have been paid,” he said, showing the bank certificates.

Answering a question about alleged construction of a road to his family’s Raiwind estate, as mentioned in the NAB report, he said every road in Punjab led to the house of some minister, politician, (army) general, judge, journalist or senior government official.

He said that an inquiry about the road had been conducted during retired Gen Pervez Musharraf’s rule but no reference had been sent to a court.

He declined to respond to any query regarding intentions of NAB and its credibility after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had accused it of including ‘frivolous’ information in its report.

“The issue has been raised and now it will open a Pandora’s Box,” he said.

Denying that the Sharifs had ever got bank loans written off, he used the occasion to accuse his political rivals of devouring national wealth by this and other means.

“There should be a judicious and ruthless accountability… If a poor man does not return loan, the bank takes action against him but the matter is different with “Ameer and Tareen, Chaudhrys and Maliks.”

Meanwhile, the finance minister said in an email message: “I am shocked to learn from media today about certain allegations levelled against me relating to misuse of authority and assets beyond means apparently released by NAB.

“It is clarified that I’ve been regularly disclosing all my income and assets in my annual tax returns as well as in the statement of assets with the ECP. The same are in public knowledge gazetted by the ECP and can be accessed at the ECP website. These allegations are baseless and frivolous and hence outright rejected.”

In an earlier development, a statement of Shahbaz Sharif’s son MNA Hamza Shahbaz calling for continuity of democracy sent the rumour mills grinding if the ruling family was sensing a rat in the NAB report.

“The nation has given five years’ mandate to the present leadership and the government is moving in the right direction and serving the masses with commitment and dedication,” he said at a gathering here.

He stressed that “continuity of democracy is essential for progress and prosperity”.

Arguing that no-one could immediately solve problems faced by the country, he said “peaceful transfer of power” augured well.

He said “if a government will not deliver it will be held accountable by the people” and that “martial law is not the solution” to any problem.

SHUJAAT: Meanwhile, PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, whose name was on the NAB list, demanded that the Supreme Court should form a commission to investigate all the 150 major scams.

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