Monday Apr 15, 2019
LONDON: Suleman Shahbaz, son of Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, has rejected as baseless and frivolous allegations by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that he has been involved in money-laundering, saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan has questions to answer about his own “unexplained assets worth Rs4 billion".
PTI leaders and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) have alleged that the former chief minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif and his sons Hamza and Suleman, who is in London these days with his family, have been involved in money laundering of 85 billion Rupees.
Speaking on Geo News show 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath', Suleman accused the “selected” prime minister of holding a “media trial” of Sharifs and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership, in order to deflect attention from real issues like price hike, electricity shortfall, unbearable living costs and economic meltdown brought about by the “incompetent and clueless” team of the PTI.
He rejected the allegations of his involvement in money laundering and announced that he will be taking legal action against the government ministers involved in lying through national media at the behest of the prime minister.
“I brought money from abroad into Pakistan for investment and that’s not money laundering. Each and everything that I own is declared with the FBR. Every penny that I invested in Pakistan is declared and on board, and record of each and every asset and business that I have ever owned is available with the relevant Pakistani authorities,” Suleman said.
He accused that PM Khan has set up a media cell in the PM house and its members are tasked daily to make new allegations as well as repeat the old ones to make them appear true.
The prime minister is using NAB, FIA and IB to target Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Hamza, my father and the PPP leadership, he claimed.
“Imran Khan has attention span of only five minutes. He has no plan to take control of the economic meltdown because he doesn’t understand the nuances of business and economic revival. He has no governance plan and his policies have failed, for him lying and making new allegations is the way forward,” Suleman said.
“Imran Khan promised that he will bring to Pakistan 300 billion rupees of Nawaz Sharif from abroad after coming into power. I ask him where is that money now? Why didn’t he bring that amount to Pakistan? He knows that he lied about that and now he wants to hide behind more allegations by accusing us of corruption. I challenge him to bring the alleged billions and give some of it to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) instead of going around asking for money.”
He said that he didn’t know any Mahboob Ali and had never dealt with him, adding that all his record was available with the Pakistani authorities and the PTI government was picking up “bits and pieces” from here and there and leaking to media for character assassination campaigns.
“My father was detained by NAB for 120 days on allegations of corruption of billions, kickbacks and commission and what not, but then found nothing against him. The Lahore High Court made it clear that NAB actions were malafide and unfair. I challenge the PTI government to prove corruption of a single rupee by my father or myself. There is a media onslaught against us and we have right to tell truth to Pakistani public,” Suleman said.
He said that he has never held a public office and there’s no question of misusing his authority or for that matter anyone in his family.
Suleman asked: “In 2012, Imran Khan declared that the value of his assets is only 12 crore rupees but within some years his assets ballooned to 4 billion rupees. He has never worked all these years and he must explain how he made these assets? Is it because the PTI had government in KP for five years and Imran Khan received commission and kickbacks, if his logic is to be believed? He has held public office for a long time and must explain his 4 billion rupees to the public.”
He said that he was living in London because his mother was getting treatment here, his newly-born niece is being treated and also there was no hope of justice from the NAB because “NAB is using laws of apartheid to carry out dirty work for the PTI. NAB is using its black laws for Imran Khan’s government to help hide its incompetence and failures.
“The only purpose of NAB is to target opponents of PTI. It puts people behind bars for months and doesn’t give them fair chance or legal right to defend. The political arm of PTI cannot do justice,” Suleman said.