prime minister of pakistan Shahbaz Sharif He testified against him on Saturday in a special court hearing in the PKR 16 billion money laundering case that he had refused to take any salary when he was the chief minister of Punjab province, and called himself “Majnu” for doing so.
Shahbaz and his sons – Hamza and Suleiman – were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in November 2020 under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Hamza is currently the chief minister of Punjab province, while Suleiman is absconding and living in Britain.
Meanwhile, the court on Saturday extended the pre-arrest bail of Prime Minister Shahbaz and his son Hamza till June 4.
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The FIA investigation states that it has unearthed 28 benami accounts, purportedly of the Shahbaz family, through which an amount of 14 billion Pakistani rupees (US$75 million) was withdrawn from 2008 to 2018.
The FIA investigates the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions. The amount was kept in “hidden accounts” and given to Shahbaz in his personal capacity.
The premier, with the permission of Judge Ejaz Hassan Awan, took to the stage and said: “I haven’t taken anything from the government in 12.5 years, and in this case, I have been accused of laundering Rs 25 lakh.” “God has made me the Prime Minister of this country. I am a Majnu (idiot) and I have not taken my legal rights, my salary and benefits,” he said during the hearing.
He recalled that the secretary had sent him a note for sugar exports during his tenure as Punjab chief minister, when he had set an export limit and rejected the notes.
Shahbaz first became the Chief Minister of Punjab in 1997 when his brother Nawaz was the Prime Minister. After the toppling of the Nawaz Sharif government in 1999 following the coup d’état of General Pervez Musharraf, Shahbaz spent eight years in exile in Saudi Arabia before returning to Pakistan in 2007 with the family.
He wore the cap of Chief Minister of Punjab for a second term in 2008 and assumed the same position for the third time in 2013.
“My family suffered a loss of PKR 2 billion due to my decision. I am telling you the reality. Even when my son’s ethanol production plant was being set up, I decided to levy duty on ethanol. Because of that decision my family lost 800 million PKR annually. The previous government withdrew that notification saying it was injustice to sugar mills,” he claimed.
Advocate Amjad Parvez, the prime minister’s counsel, told the court that the laundering case was “politically motivated” and “based on malicious intent” by the previous government led by Imran.
Since he was ousted from power last month, Imran Khan has been targeting Shahbaz over his money laundering charges, and has labeled his successor a “highly corrupt man”. “The person who has cases of corruption worth Rs 16 billion and Rs 8 billion, whoever picks and chooses the prime minister, cannot be a greater disgrace to the country than this. We are resigning from the National Assembly,” Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had tweeted after Shahbaz became the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Khan, the 69-year-old politician-turned-cricketer, calls Shahbaz the “crime minister” and vows to continue.
What they call the “imported government” struggles to send it home.