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80 cases pending against Nawaz
By Asad Ali

LAHORE, Dec 10: More than 80 complaints of corruption and misuse of authority were pending at different stages of inquiry, investigation and trial against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif when he was granted pardon by the president and exiled.

Senior politicians, who were a part of the PML government, and bureaucrats who were co-accused in the cases could also benefit if the cases were not taken up as a result of the former PM's absence or the family's "settlement" with the government.

Fifty-five of these complaints were filed by Jamaat-i-Islami's Ehtesab Cell chief and former LDA director-general Maj-Gen M H Ansari (retired) and around 30 complaints were moved by the PPP.

Mr Ansari said that investigations had been completed on 10 of his complaints and were ready to be put before a court for trial.

All his 55 complaints are about the alleged illegal allotment of plots.

Mr Ansari said that the plots were allotted when Nawaz Sharif was the Punjab chief minister.

The PPP moved the complaints before the ehtesab commission during 1996-1999 when Mr Sharif was himself the prime minister. None of the complaints was referred to ehtesab courts.

It was one of the PPP complaints on which the former PM was convicted for the first time on corruption charges. The complaint said Nawaz Sharif did not mention in his declaration of assets in the nomination form for NA-12 in 1997 that he owned a helicopter. It was alleged that he did not pay duties of Rs30 million on this machine.

PPP's Munir Ahmad Khan, who was the complainant in these cases, said that four of the complaints were pending before accountability courts while the others were at various stages of investigation.

The four cases, he said, were about the alleged misuse of authority in the construction of the Raiwind farm. The other cases were about default of loan taken in the name of Hudaibia Papers Limited, non-payment of income tax and acquisition of property disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Mr Khan was not aware of the state of investigations on the PPP complaints.

The first case under the NAB law introduced by the present government was referred to an accountability court in the city on February 13. The accused included the former PM, his father, Mian Sharif, and brothers - Shahbaz Sharif and Abbas Sharif. It was a bank default case about a loan drawn in the name of Ittefaq Foundries from a National Bank of Pakistan branch.

The PPP complaints charge the former premier of defaulting on bank loans, evasion of taxes and duties, illegal appointments and promotions, concealing assets within the country and abroad, misusing his office to expand his business empire and illegally acquiring prime land in different parts of the country.

In one of the complaints it is alleged that Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif misused their official positions for expanding their business empire between 1990 till 1993.

The complaint said that bank borrowing, according to a "conservative estimate", during this period reached Rs9 billion. The number of their industrial units allegedly increased from nine to 20.

(Dawn, Dec 11 2000 )

illion. The number of their industrial units allegedly increased from nine to 20.

(Dawn, Dec 11 2000 )