By RMN News Service
A Pakistan anti-corruption court has ordered the seizure of assets of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for his failure to appear in the Toshakhana graft case.
The court order has come after he was declared an absconder in the case for allegedly causing a huge loss to the national exchequer.
Earlier, on September 9, the anti-corruption court had indicted former president Asif Ali Zardari and a former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gillani, while declaring Sharif an absconder in the case.
According to reports, the Islamabad-based accountability court was hearing the case filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which is Pakistan’s top anti-corruption authority.
In its report, the NAB has submitted the details of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief’s movable and immovable properties.
The reports add that the accountability Judge Asghar Ali ordered the authorities to freeze Sharif’s national and international bank accounts and seize his 206 acres of agricultural land in Lahore and 12.75 acres in Sheikhupura, as well as his house in Murree in Punjab province.
It is alleged that Sharif, 70, had also received two tractors and cars from the Toshakhana (state gift depository) after paying 15 per cent of the price. These vehicles are also included in the assets that the court has ordered to seize.
The Toshakhana graft case is about the alleged relaxation of rules by Gilani for the benefit of Zardari and Sharif to buy vehicles gifted by foreign countries.
Sharif is accused of obtaining luxury cars from the treasury house by paying just 15 per cent of the price of these vehicles. Similarly, Zardari and Gilani, are also accused of receiving luxury vehicles and gifts from the treasure house.
According to reports, the court had issued non-bailable arrest warrant against Sharif in June and subsequently directed the Foreign Office to execute the arrest warrants through the Pakistan High Commission in London, where Sharif had gone under the pretext of getting treatment for health complications.
He had gone abroad after securing bail for medical treatment in two other cases of financial misappropriation: Chaudhry Sugar Mills case and the Al Azizia case.
Meanwhile, Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has urged authorities to bring back Sharif from London and to ensure that the former prime minister faces the corruption cases pending against him in various Pakistani courts.
Sharif, his daughter Maryam, and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were also convicted in the Avenfield properties case on July 6, 2018. Sharif was sentenced to seven years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in December 2018. But he was granted bail and allowed to go to London for medical treatment.
It is believed that Sharif had gone to London only to avoid prosecution in Pakistan, as it is alleged that there are photos circulating online that show him strolling and enjoying in London streets.
Although the prime minister of India Narendra Modi has also been facing serious allegation of corruption and misappropriation of funds in multiple cases such as the Rafale deal and PM CARES Fund, he has not been prosecuted.
Modi avoids prosecution because the judiciary in India is weak and incompetent, and the anti-corruption departments such as Lokpal, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), and others only exist as toothless, ineffective outfits that cannot weed out corruption.
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