SC to take up Hudaibiya case if NAB fails to complete probe: Sheikh Rasheed

ISLAMABAD: Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed on Thursday said that the Supreme Court (SC) will take up the Hudaibiya Bill case if the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) fails to complete the investigation.

Talking to media, Sheikh Rasheed said that at first, the case was against one person but now, it is the entire family which is corrupt. “I can’t back off from Hudaibiya Mill case,” he added.

While speaking about the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman’s appointment, the AML chief said that Opposition Leader in National Assembly Khursheed Shah has called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and apprised him about his reservations over the appointment of the chairman of NAB.

“Shah has also passed on concerns of the opposition with regard to the NAB chairman’s affinity to a political party,” he added.

Earlier, Sheikh Rasheed had moved the Supreme Court against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), accusing the anti-graft watchdog of failing to file an appeal in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case in accordance with the SC’s Panamagate verdict.

In a petition submitted before the apex court, Rasheed, who is one of the three petitioners in the Panama Papers case, pleaded that NAB’s lawyer had assured the court on July 21 that he will file an appeal within a week, challenging the decision of the Lahore High Court (LHC) to close the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case. However, NAB had not acted upon its “voluntary undertaking” in the court and is therefore guilty of contempt of court, the AML chief pleaded.

During the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had confessed to his involvement in laundering $14.86 million (about Rs1.2bn) for the Sharif family, in a statement submitted before a magistrate on April 25, 2000, on the basis of which he was pardoned in the case.

According to Rasheed, the NAB lawyer’s statement was included in the SC verdict of the Panama Papers case, in which the judges had ordered the bureau to file a reference and restart an investigation of the case. He said that he had sent NAB a reminder notice after seven days, however, the bureau had failed to act.

The SC, in its verdict of the Panama Papers case, had questioned the role of the NAB chairman, who had seemingly favoured the Sharifs in the Hudaibya Paper Mills case by not challenging the LHC’s decision to close the reference.

“NAB did not challenge that judgement before the Supreme Court through any petition/appeal as NAB chairman had been appointed by [Nawaz Sharif] himself and, therefore, he had returned the favour by not filing any petition/appeal in that case against [Mr Sharif] and others. NAB chairman had failed in due performance of his duty in that regard,” the verdict said.



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