‘Established’ from Broadsheet verdict Nawaz ‘lied to parliament, SC, nation’: Umar

The tweet comes a day after the government released the judgement of a United Kingdom court against Pakistan in the Broadsheet case.

ISLAMABAD: A day after the government released the judgement of a United Kingdom court against Pakistan in the Broadsheet case, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar on Tuesday said the detailed verdict “established” that deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif “lied to the parliament, the Supreme Court [and] the nation”.

In a tweet, the minister said the judgement has “stated clearly” the Sharif family was in possession of the Avenfield House apartments “as far back as 2000 at least”.

His tweet comes a day after Shahzad Akbar, special assistant to the prime minister on accountability and interior, shared copies of the judgments against Pakistan, saying it was in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s view of no accountability without transparency.

In 2000, Broadsheet LLC — a company registered in the Isle of Man, tax heaven in the UK, and engaged by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) — helped the government and the newly-established accountability agency track down foreign assets of some 150 Pakistan nationals including members of the Sharif family acquired through ill-gotten wealth.

The agreement was terminated by the bureau in 2003, after which Broadsheet filed a claim with the High Court of Justice, London against Pakistan, seeking the award of $28.7 million.

In 2019, a separate claim filed with the high court showed the company has applied for permission to enforce its judgement that it be paid $22 million by the government of Pakistan in compensation.

The firm had also asked for an interest rate of $4,758 a day to be applied, jacking up the amount to $28.7 million. After the bureau failed to make the payment, the amount was reported to be debited from the accounts of the Pakistan High Commission in London.

In the Monday’s press conference, Akbar also confirmed the payment of $21.5 million to the firm in damage compensation and termed the development as a “cost” of “NRO deals” offered to the Sharif family during the regime of former president Pervez Musharraf.

However, Akbar said that the government “cleared the dues” on December 31.

“Of the $21.5m paid to broadsheet,” he said, “$20.5m was paid because of the Sharif family — of this $1.5m was paid against the Avenfield House apartments and $19m against assets of [deposed prime minister] Nawaz Sharif.”

He further said the quantum order mentioned details regarding Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif, such as that he paid $7.3m to NAB and elsewhere, he took kickbacks of $160m in highway taxes.

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