Fawad holds previous govts responsible for financial crisis

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Tariq Virk

Islamabad

Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chon Sunday said that Sharif family introduced Economic Reform Act in 1992 to keep the source of capital hidden.

Addressing a news conference along with Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar in Islamabad, he said the corruption has led to inflation, falling exchange rate of Pakistan rupee, and all sorts of issues faced by Pakistanis abroad.

“In 1996-97 and then 1997-98, the authorities noticed a very suspicious transaction and found that the company behind it was Hudaibiya Papers Mill, which had a total value of Rs95 million. All of a sudden Rs810m worth of foreign remittances were credited to the company’s accounts.”

An investigation was thus started and it was discovered that the owner of Hudaibiya Paper Mills was Mian Mohammad Sharif, the father of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry claimed.

“When the case was torn open in earnest, it was found that an economic hitman, Ishaq Dar, was hired. Dar introduced a novel method for money laundering fake accounts.

“The period after that is before you. Musharraf’s investigation could not continue and the Sharifs were given an NRO,” the information minister continued.

“Now why I want to talk about Hudaibiya is because all subsequent cases of corruption followed the exact same scheme. Hill Metal Establishment followed the same method as in Hudaibiya Paper Mills,” he said.

“Hussain Nawaz sent around 126,768 euros […] the overall amount sent by him was around Rs1,165.6 million, through TT to Nawaz Sharif.

“Out of this amount, Nawaz Sharif then gave 820 million to Maryam Nawaz, who then bought agricultural land from the amount,” claimed Chaudhry.

Asif Zardari breathed new innovation into the whole exercise, said the information minister as he moved on to discuss the Federal Investigation Agency’s findings on the PPP co-chairman’s fake accounts case.

“Whereas here [in the case of the Sharifs], there was the creation of and use of fake accounts, Zardari sahab bought an entire bank for himself,” claimed Chaudhry.

Chaudhry alleged an entire network was created in Sindh where fake accounts were created and then money was transferred to people “such as the man who sold falooda (an ice cream dessert) in Faisalabad and saw millions of rupees transferred to his account”.

“In all the cases, money was transferred to insignificant people, such as gardeners, drivers, guards, etc. If a person so much as passed by these people (behind the transactions) from afar, their accounts would be targeted and used,” claimed the information minister.

“When an investigation began into those accounts, FIA unearthed the involvement of around 5000 accounts of which 32 accounts were the main accounts which branched out to the others,” he said.

“Everything was traced to these accounts: payment for Bilawal Bhutto’s aircraft expenditures, for Ayyan Ali’s tickets, and for the expenditures of Bilawal House. Moreover, Bakhtawar [Bhutto]’s birthday expenses were also paid through these accounts,” Chaudhry alleged.