ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s affidavit, given in a money laundering reference against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders 17 years ago, remained the focus of press conferences by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the PML-N leaders following Monday’s hearing of the Panamagate case.
PTI chairperson Imran Khan termed Mr Dar’s statement proof of the “real money trail” of the prime minister’s offshore assets, while PML-N leaders challenged the veracity of the statement given under duress during General Pervaiz Musharraf’s military rule.
Mr Dar had given a handwritten statement to a magistrate on April 25, 2000, alleging that the Sharif brothers had used the Hudaibya Paper Mills as a cover for money laundering in the late 1990s.
After becoming an approver, Mr Dar had confessed that he had laundered Nawaz Sharif’s money, said Mr Khan, adding that this was the actual money trail of the PM’s London flats.
PML-N argues that the affidavit was given under duress
He said Mr Dar had given the statement while being investigated by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and when he filed an appeal against the NAB court decision in a high court, the bureau did not challenge it. “That is because the NAB chairperson was appointed by Nawaz Sharif.”
He said the Supreme Court had also directed NAB to provide documentary evidence as to why it had not gone into an appeal against the high court’s decision.
The prime minister has even made his own father, Mian Sharif, a ‘money launderer’ by placing the onus of their offshore investments on him, the PTI chief said.
The Sharif family’s Gulf Steel Mill had been running a huge loss, approximately 15 million dirhams in Dubai, how could it have been sold off for 12m dirhams, Mr Khan questioned.
On the other hand, PML-N’s Daniyal Aziz and Prime Minister’s Adviser Mussadiq Malik held a press conference at the Press Information Department where they claimed that Mr Dar’s statement had been obtained under duress.
“When a person is taken to the basement of Attock Fort, he says whatever he is asked to say,” said Mr Malik.
The adviser said Mr Dar’s case had been tried thrice in the past and the decisions had been in his favour. “Double jeopardy law does not allow the trial of a person more than once on a specific issue.”