Posts Tagged ‘Nawaz Sharif’

NAB law may be amended to allow court to grant bail: SC

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has suggested that lawmakers may consider amending the National Accountability Ordina­nce (NAO) 1999 to enable an accused person to apply for bail to an accountability court.

“In the changed scenario, the legislature may, if so advised, consider amending the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 appropriately so as to enable an accused person to apply for his bail before the relevant accountability court in the first instance,” wrote Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in a judgement on the plea of Tallat Ishaq, who had sought leave to appeal against the Jan 31 ruling of the Balochistan High Court in which his post-arrest bail was refused in a corruption reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against him and others under Section 18(g) read with Section 24(b) of the NAO.

Justice Khosa also recommended revising the unrealistic time frame for conclusion of a trial as specified in Section 16(a) of the NAO. The time frame under the NAB law is 30 days.

In a judgement, Justice Khosa also recommends revising unrealistic time frame for conclusion of trial

The intention behind introduction of Section 9(b) of the NAO, which ousted the jurisdiction of the superior courts regarding grant of bail in a case under NAO, already stood neutralised due to opening of the door for bail through exercise of constitutional jurisdiction of a high court, Justice Khosa observed.

Resultantly, the entire burden was being shouldered by the high courts, which was an unnecessary drain on their precious time, he explained, adding that the high courts and the Supreme Court had always felt difficulty in adjusting the requirements of “without lawful authority” and “of no legal effect” relevant to a writ of certiorari (Article 199(1)(a)(ii) of the Constitution) with the requirements of bail provided in Section 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Ishaq was facing the allegation that in his capacity as superintendent in the office of Director Development, Quetta Division, he had acquired assets beyond known sources of income in his own name and in the names of his wife and others.

According to the prosecution, he had acquired 17 immovable properties worth Rs93 million and six vehicles.

The same question was highlighted by senior counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed while defending former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz before the apex court in the appeal moved by NAB against the Sept 19 decision of the Islamabad High Court to suspend the jail term awarded to the Sharifs in the Avenfield apartments reference.

In this case the Supreme Court has already constituted a larger bench to consider if constitutional jurisdiction to grant bail should be invoked when there is a statutory ouster of courts to grant bail pending appeal against special courts, like the accountability court, particularly in cases involving grant of bail by suspending the sentence and release on bail during pendency of the appeal.

The larger bench will also ponder over the jurisdiction of the superior courts regarding ouster of Section 426 of the CrPC for suspension of sentences in NAB cases. It will also ascertain the principles regulating bail under sections 497 and 498 of the CrPC while considering the suspension of sentences.

In his verdict, Justice Khosa observed that the stand taken by Ishaq before the apex court regarding properties in question were ostensibly mutually contradictory.

“The case against Ishaq is quite distinguishable from the case against his co-accused who had been admitted to bail by the high court since Ishaq is the principal accused in this case whereas the co-accused are alleged to be Benamidars only,” Justice Khosa observed, adding that no reason was cited to show why delay occurred in the conclusion of his trial and who was responsible for it.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2018

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Nawaz, other relatives meet Shahbaz at NAB office

LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday met his younger brother and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif at the National Accountability Bureau’s Lahore office where he is in custody in connection with the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing project case.

Nawaz, accompanied by his daughter Maryam Nawaz, Shahbaz’s wife Nusrat and son Hamza, held a two-hour meeting with the leader of opposition in the National Assembly.

On Oct 5, NAB arrested Shahbaz in the case in which he is accused of cancelling the contract of the successful bidder, M/S Chaudhry Latif & Sons, instead allegedly obliging M/S Lahore Casa Develo­pers (JV) — a proxy group of M/S Paragon City (Pvt) Limited — and causing losses of millions to the exchequer.

NAB has also arrested Shahbaz in the Ramazan Sugar Mills case. The former chief minister has been accused of ordering construction of a bridge to benefit the sugar mills and spending public money on the project in Chiniot.

According to NAB, Shahbaz allegedly approved an amount of Rs200 million for the construction of the bridge.

NAB has already written to the interior ministry for placing the names of Hamza Shahbaz and his younger brother Salman Shahbaz on the Exit Control List (ECL). They are facing a NAB inquiry in the Ramazan Sugar Mills case.

Hamza is also facing an inquiry in the Saaf Pani Company case for presiding over some meetings of its board of directors and allegedly issuing orders regarding award of contracts.

Salman is in London and has skipped the last three NAB hearings.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2018

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New London property belonging to Sharif family to be referred to NAB: Shahzad Akbar

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Saturday said that the Assets Recovery Unit was referring the case of a new London property belonging to the Sharif family to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

While bringing attention to a property that he said “had been revealed by the media”, Akbar — in a press conference alongside Adviser to PM Iftikhar Durrani — said that investigative journalists were his closest partners in the responsibility he had been given.

He said that a media channel had broken the news of a property [Frederick Close] located in Central London which “had a current value of 2.2 or 2.3 million pounds”.

Akbar added that the rental income and ownership documents for this property from 2012 to 2016 had been available “but were put away in files”.

According to these documents, the flat in London was under the name of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, the late wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The special assistant to PM said that as the premier and a member of the National Assembly (MNA), it was Nawaz Sharif’s responsibility to declare the ownership of his dependents, including his wife’s.

He said that this declaration could have been made in two ways; on a wealth statement that every citizen is required to submit while declaring his/her spouse’s assets — or as a member of the parliament in the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) forms.

Akbar added that as an MNA, there is also an annual declaration submitted in the assembly.

While holding up a document of the ECP forms and wealth statement, Akbar said that this property had not been shared anywhere and this made it a new case of assets beyond known income.

He said that further investigation of assets beyond known income should be carried out by NAB while tax related liability has been given to the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR).

While saying that the case will be pursued by both [NAB and FBR], Akbar added that they have also asked Britain for fresh ownership documents of the concerned property.

Akbar said that according to the land registry, in August 2016 this property was transferred to Hassan Nawaz’s name.

The latest date for its sale is from March 2018, Akbar added.

“We have asked Britain for all these documents and they might come in a week or two. We will put all of that in front of you, what the whole trail of this was — till when this property was under the Sharif family and when they sold it and for how much.”

“The question comes up again which has remained the question in all the cases: where did these properties come from, what was their source of income, and what is their trail of money.

“When you don’t declare something and get caught, the first question is where did it come from, you have to declare a source of income for it,” he remarked.

He also spoke about the alleged misuse of the Prime Minister’s plane, ,saying three hundred forty million rupees were illegally spent on air travels,. He said Sharif’s daughter, Maryam Nawaz, used the Prime Minister’s aircraft illegally while former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif spent Rs600 million on air travel.

In July this year, an accountability court in its verdict in the ,Avenfield properties corruption reference, had handed the ousted prime minister 10 years as jail time for owning assets beyond known income and his daughter Maryam was given 7 years for abetment after she was found “instrumental in concealment of the properties of her father”. Sharif’s son-in-law retired Captain Safdar was given 1 year jail time.

NAB had filed the reference regarding the high-end properties in London, along with two others, on the Supreme Court’s directives in the ,landmark Panamagate verdict last year, which deseated Nawaz as the prime minister.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - November 17, 2018 at 5:25 pm

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JIT put unreasonable terms for Qatari prince’s statement: Nawaz

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday told the accountability court seized with the Al-Azizia reference that the joint investigation team (JIT) constituted in the Panama Papers case “imposed extremely strict, unreasonable conditions” for recording the statement of Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber Al-Thani.

The Qatari prince was the “missing link” in the money trail of the Sharif family for their London properties and businesses in the UK and Saudi Arabia.

A day earlier, the former premier had testified that he was not a participant in the transactions between the Qatari royal family and the Sharifs. And on Friday, he said the prince was a key witness regarding his family’s money trail but the JIT deliberately ignored him during the course of its investigations.

In Al-Azizia reference former premier has so far answered 120 questions out of a total of 151

Continuing with his testimony, he said: “I have no personal knowledge of the correspondence between Wajid Zia and his Excellency Mr Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber Al-Thani, nor am I the subject matter of any of the letters in the said correspondence.”

He claimed the Qatari prince, at every stage of the investigations, confirmed the money trail and also offered to verify the contents of the transactions between the two families.

In response to the suggestion that the Qatari prince was unwilling to accept the jurisdiction of the Pakistani criminal justice system, Mr Sharif replied: “This is incorrect. Prince Hamad bin Jasim bin Jaber Al-Thani never denied the jurisdiction of the Pakistani courts, or to be part of any inquiry or investigation by the JIT for purposes of confirmation of the contents of the letters [that confirmed money trail]… and [he] even asked the JIT to provide him a questionnaire in advance prior to the arrival of JIT in Doha… on the contrary [JIT] imposed extremely strict, unreasonable conditions for recording of his statement.”

According to Mr Sharif, the Qatari prince “repeatedly offered to verify the contents of his aforementioned letters; he had also repeatedly invited the JIT members to visit Doha so as to facilitate them to verify in person the contents of his letters”.

He further testified that he never relied upon these letters but his co-accused [Hussain Nawaz] produced the letters in his defence to establish the money trail before the Supreme Court during the hearing of the Panama Papers case.

During that case the Sharif family had taken the stance before the top court that they had acquired properties in London and established businesses in the UK and Saudi Arabia with the sale proceeds of the Gulf Steel Mills, which was set up by his father Mian Mohammad Sharif during the 1970s.

In response to a question about remittances sent to him by Hussain Nawaz from the account of the Hill Metal Establishment, Mr Sharif admitted that his son remitted the amount to his accounts and that more than 70 per cent of the remitted amount was transferred to the account of his daughter Maryam Nawaz.

He said the amount was remitted to his accounts as a gift and this was properly declared in his tax returns as well.

The former prime minister said that an amount of Rs100 million was donated to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in 2013.

On Friday Mr Sharif responded to a total of 30 questions. During his testimony, being recorded under Section 342 of the criminal procedure code, he has so far answered 120 questions out of a total of 151.

Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik adjourned further proceedings till Monday.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2018

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Nawaz denies transaction with Qatari prince

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday told an accountability court he had never had any transaction with Qatari Prince Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani.

In response to a question put to him by Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik about the correspondence between the Qatari prince and the joint investigation team (JIT) constituted in the Panama Papers case, Mr Sharif said: “I had never participated in any transaction with Prince Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani; for that matter, any transaction which is mentioned in the worksheet and related paper.”

He claimed that his name did not “figure in any capacity whatsoever in the two letters written by Prince Hamad bin Jassim”.

Making a statement under the Criminal Procedure Code in the Al-Azizia reference, the former premier said his father Mian Mohammad Sharif took care of him and his family when they were in exile following the October 1999 coup against his elected government.

“My late father arranged and provided sufficient amounts for the day-to-day living of all my family members; subsequently, he also raised funds from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to establish the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and to run and operate his business during his lifetime through my elder son, namely Hussain Nawaz Sharif,” he said.

“Following the military coup on October 12, 1999, I was firstly confined and thereafter exiled from Pakistan on December 10, 2000…. (A)s regards the freezing of assets and businesses in Pakistan, the correct position is that subsequent to the military coup… the entire record of the businesses of the Sharif Group, which were being run by my late father Mian Mohammad Sharif since 1937, was illegally removed by various agencies and since then has never been returned to the family,” he said.

“In this respect a report was also lodged with the local police station but no action was taken. Subsequently, I was exiled from Pakistan and the NAB [National Accountability Bureau] had illegally and forcibly taken over the residential houses belonging to my parents along with a large number of shares of various companies belonging to my other family members.”

Answering another question, Mr Sharif reiterated that he had never claimed the acquisition or ownership of Al-Azizia/Hill Metal Establishment (HME). “As regards the remittances from the HME, I have never denied the receipt of the said remittances, rather I openly declared the same throughout my tax record.”

In response to a question about NAB’s efforts to obtain information from Saudi authorities regarding Al-Azizia/HME, he said the requests seeking Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) sent to Saudi Arabia were “never pursued by NAB with any degree of seriousness or due diligence. Rather, in the first instance, in the MLA sent to Saudi Arabia the JIT deliberately and maliciously provided deficient and incorrect data, and thereafter NAB never rectified the said defects and deficiencies by sending a fresh MLA or providing the correct data to the competent authorities in Saudi Arabia”.

During the proceedings, Mr Sharif told the judge that it was not just in October 1999 that his family experienced hostility from certain circles, “but this has always happened. It is a painful story of our family”.

Recollecting past events, he said that in 1972 Pakistan’s biggest steel mills — the Ittefaq Foundry, which was owned by his family — was nationalised and at that time he had not even entered politics.

By the time the court rose for the day, the former prime minister had responded to 89 of the 151 questions supposed to be put to him during the recording of his testimony.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2018

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Panel needed to probe ‘economic terrorism’: minister

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday called for forming a parliamentary panel to probe issues linked with “economic terrorism”.

Referring to the 5,000 fake bank accounts allegedly used to stash billions of dollars abroad, he said the proposed parliamentary committee would see to whom these accounts belonged to.

Speaking in the Senate, Mr Chaudhry said information received from 10 countries showed that these accounts had been used to launder Rs700 billion. He said the committee should also see as to how allocations made in successive budgets had been spent and why the government was forced to lend money to pay back loans.

The idea was endorsed in principle by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani who promised to consult the leader of the house and the leader of the opposition in the Senate, besides discussing it with the National Assembly speaker.

Senate sees walkout over Fawad Chaudhry’s remarks against opposition politicians

The information minister regretted the remarks made against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leadership by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mushahidullah Khan on Monday and said the language used was deplorable and the member or his party should tender an apology for it.

The Senate chairman, however, asked the minister not to vitiate the atmosphere, pointing out that the member concerned was not present in the house.

At this, Mr Chaudhry said he too was not present in the house when the PML-N leader made objectionable remarks. He wondered why he could not speak on how the country had been run by the previous governments. Referring to a case relating to illegal construction of shops on the land of Baba Farid shrine in Pakpattan, the permission for which had been granted in 1985 when PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was the chief minister, Mr Chaudhry said they did not even spare shrines.

The chairman once again interrupted the minister and said the matter was sub judice.

Mr Chaudhry regretted that whenever somebody talked of investigations into corruption, accountability and fake accounts, the atmosphere in the Senate was vitiated. “It is inappropriate to sweep everything under the carpet.”

Things apparently calmed down afterwards, but rumpus ruled the house over the information minister’s remarks in response to a calling-attention notice moved by Usman Kakar of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and others raised the issue of slow pace of work on the Quetta airport and use of substandard material.

Mr Kakar regretted that while big airports had been constructed in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, the expansion work on the Quetta airport that was supposed to be completed by December last year was constantly being delayed.

Responding to the notice, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan said the PkMAP remained an ally of the previous PML-N government for five years, but they never bothered to question their allies for the delay.

This infuriated the PkMAP senators who shouted at the minister not to say anything against the previous government and instead focus on the delay.

As if what Mr Khan had said was not enough, the information minister stood up again to hold responsible top opposition leaders by name. He said Zardaris, Achakzais and Fazlur Rahmans were to blame if no uplift work could be carried out in the provinces despite provision of substantial funds. “They are the ones who looted the country.”

He also asked as to where the hefty amount of Rs42 trillion given to Balochistan over the last 10 years had been spent. “Mehmood Khan Achakzai had appointed his brother as governor of the province and had made the whole government his slave and is now giving us lectures,” he said, adding that the opposition had no right to talk like this.

“In which capacity these people are talking as these are the people who are responsible for the backwardness of the province,” he said. “There should be a committee comprising members of the Senate to probe ‘economic terrorism’ by Achakzais and Co.”

As the minister continued to hold allies of the PML-N in Balochistan responsible for the province’s backwardness, the combined opposition parties staged a walkout in protest.

Leader of the House Shibli Faraz, Senator Faisal Javed and Minister for Privatisation Mohammad Mian Soomro tried to persuade the opposition members to come back and join the proceedings, but to no avail.

When the Senate chairman reminded the information minister that it was government’s responsibility to run the house smoothly, the latter retorted that the chair should also show some concern about the ‘poor’ the way he was giving importance to the opposition members.

“Everything is alright if we don’t talk about the corruption of these protesting senators, but the moment we say something about their corruption … they start agitating. We will expose whoever is involved in plundering the national wealth no matter what,” Mr Chaudhry maintained.

In what signalled his readiness to bring his old rivalry with the information minister to an end, Mushahidullah Khan went to Mr Chaudhry and shook hands with him when he was exchanging harsh words with Usman Kakar.

Shibli Faraz proposed development of a code of conduct for the members and expressed his intention to hold a meeting with the opposition leader and parliamentary leaders — an idea that instantly won support of the chair as well.

The house will meet on Thursday (today) at 10.30 am.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2018

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Nawaz Sharif responds to court’s questions in Al-Azizia corruption case

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday submitted his responses to 45 of 50 questions posed to him by the court in the Al-Azizia corruption reference.

When Nawaz approached the rostrum to verbally record his testimony, Accountability Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik asked him to return to his seat, and informed Nawaz that he himself would read the statement out in court for it to be recorded.

The PML-N supreme leader said that he would need time to consult his lawyer Khawaja Haris before he could provide responses to the five unanswered questions posed by the court.

“Some questions are complicated and records will need to be checked [before they can be answered],” Nawaz told the court.

“I will ask you [further] questions regarding the replies which are not satisfactory,” Judge Malik said, asking Nawaz if he had examined all the evidence presented by the prosecution, to which the latter responded in the affirmative.

Nawaz told the court that he was “elected prime minister three times. Pervez Musharraf established martial law on October 12, 1999 and I did not hold any public office from that time to 2013. I remained exiled from 2001 to 2008.”

“I cannot answer questions regarding the income tax returns and wealth statements of Hassan and Hussain Nawaz. It is not within my purview,” he added.

The ousted prime minister further said: “I have shown all my income tax returns, my assets and my sources of income. It is true that the financial documents, including tax records, wealth statements and wealth tax returns, are all my own.”

The court observed that since Nawaz held public office, he was “the most influential person in the Sharif family”, to which the former PM replied that this was an opinion formed by the Investigation Officer.

“My father Mian Muhammad Sharif was the most influential person in the the family until his last breath,” he explained.

Nawaz left the court while his statement was being read out in court. Once the reading of his statement concludes, he is expected to return to court and sign his testimony.

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NAB to respond to UK Home Office’s questions on Dar’s return

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to respond to a questionnaire prepared by the United Kingdom’s Home Office regarding the return of former minister Ishaq Dar to the country.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar was hearing a case related to Dar’s non-appearance before the apex court in a corruption case pertaining to owning assets approximately valued at Rs831.7 million, disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Dar was declared an absconder by the court last year when he failed to appear since he was in London, allegedly undergoing medical treatment. His absence was first attributed to ill health on Oct 30, 2017.

The additional attorney general told the bench today that the UK Home Office had sent some questions regarding Dar’s return to the country, and these questions had been forwarded to NAB.

“They will submit their response to the UK Home Office,” the additional attorney general added.

The CJP observed that Dar “can no longer use his illness as an excuse [to stay abroad]“.

“He would say that when justice will prevail, only then will he return to the country,” the top judge added.

The court ordered NAB to respond to the Home Office’s questionnaire and to submit a report on the matter within a month.

The case was subsequently adjourned for a month.

‘Assets beyond known income’

The noose began to tighten around the former finance minister after NAB decided to reopen the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference against him last year.

The Hudaibya reference will be the second ‘mega-corruption’ case against Dar being investigated by NAB, after the reference filed against him in the wake of the Panamagate judgement.

The reopening of the case was recommended by the joint investigation team formed by the apex court to probe the Panama Papers allegations against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members.

On July 28, a five-member Supreme Court bench had ordered NAB to file three references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and one against Dar, on petitions filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Imran Khan, Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sirajul Haq and Awami Muslim League’s Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

In its reference against the finance minister, NAB has alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million (approx)”.

The reference alleged that the assets were “disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for”.

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Daniyal Aziz withdraws plea against disqualification

In an unexpected development, PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz — who had been declared disqualified from holding public office by the Supreme Court of Pakistan after being found in contempt of court — on Wednesday withdrew his plea against the disqualification verdict.

He was unwilling to share his reason for the decision.

The apex court had held the outspoken PML-N leader in contempt on June 28 and sentenced him till the rising of the court.

The sentence rendered him disqualified from contesting elections for a period of five years under Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution, which states: “[...] a person shall be disqualified from being elected or chosen as, and from being, a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), if­ he has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction…unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release”.

Subsequently, on August 4, the PML-N leader had filed an appeal against his conviction and disqualification from contesting elections. In his appeal, Aziz had denied ever saying the words for which he was held in contempt.

“I never said the words that were written in the newspaper and for which I was held in contempt,” he had claimed while talking to the media.

The PML-N leader had further claimed that the ‘problematic’ phrases on the basis of which he was held in contempt were also censored with a beep when they were aired in news bulletins, which, according to Aziz, was akin to him not having said them at all.

“I never violated the court’s orders,” he said. “In fact, me and my party — the PML-N — have always implemented the court’s orders. To disagree is our right, we have always done that and will keep on doing it.”

Case history

On February 7 this year, the apex court had issued a notice to Aziz for contempt of court for an ‘anti-judiciary’ speech made by him.

On March 13, the SC had indicted Aziz in the contempt case. The proceedings were held under the Contempt of the Court Ordinance 2003, read with Article 204 of the Constitution, against Aziz for making derogatory and contemptuous speeches and statements against the apex court which were also telecast by different television channels.

The SC bench had observed that Aziz was “committed to scandalising the court”. Aziz had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

The charges against him were that Aziz had accused Supreme Court Justice Ijazul Ahsan on Sep 8, 2017 of summoning NAB authorities to Lahore and directing them to prepare corruption references against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his family members and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

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SC larger bench to hear appeal against Nawaz’s release

• NAB’s plea against IHC order of suspending Sharifs’ sentences accepted for hearing

• Bench to determine 16 legal points formulated with assistance of both sides

• CJP hints at inclusion of Justice Khosa in larger bench

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday accepted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) appeal against the Islamabad High Court order of ,suspending the jail terms, awarded to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz in the Avenfield apartments reference and ordered constituting a larger bench for its regular hearing.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, also indicated it would consider setting aside the Sept 19 decision of suspending the jail terms while allowing the Sharifs at the same time to remain out of prison on bail.

The apex court granted leave to appeal to consider if constitutional jurisdiction to grant bail be invoked on the same principles or grounds as in a case where there is a statutory ouster of court jurisdiction to grant bail pending appeal.

When the matter will be taken up again on Dec 12, the SC larger bench will consider if the scope of the constitutional jurisdiction for grant of bail during investigation/trial or release on bail by way of suspension of sentence was much wider than the scope of grant of bail under the general law, or otherwise.

Besides, the court will ascertain parameters for tentative assessment of evidence and how it can be differentiated from deeper appreciation of evidence, particularly in cases involving grant of bail by suspending the sentence and release on bail during pendency of the appeal.

The questions are part of 16 legal points formulated by the court office with the assistance of NAB’s special prosecutor Akram Qureshi and defence counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed. The SC had asked them to come up with legal questions on the basis of which the court would issue an order explaining why leave to appeal to NAB’s petition had been granted by it.

Other points included the question whether guidelines provided by the superior courts regarding ouster of Section 426 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were required to be followed for the suspension of sentence in NAB cases, and if so what were the principles regulating suspension of the sentence under Section 426 of the CrPC.

The court would also ascertain if the principles regulating bail under Sections 497 and 498 of the CrPC would be applicable while considering the suspension of sentence. Besides, if the convict was entitled to suspension of sentence but the judgement/order suspending the sentence was not happily worded, what would be its effect then?

The larger bench would determine in case a concession of suspension of sentence was once extended by the court of appeal, whether principles of cancellation of bail would also apply for withdrawal of suspension.

The questions formulated for the apex court’s consideration also included if the IHC had interpreted correctly the provisions of Section 9(b) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999 and whether the ground of hardship case be considered while suspending the sentence in a NAB case.

The bench would further decide whether the merits of a case be discussed and conclusive findings be given as done by the high court and if this was permissible in its constitutional jurisdiction while dealing with cases of suspension of sentence.

Whether in a constitutional petition, a miscellaneous application filed under Section 561-A of the CrPC for adjudication, where CrPC is not applicable, one of the questions read.

The larger bench may also suggest if the high court could take up the constitutional petition when the main appeals had already been fixed for hearing and whether a detailed order comprising 41 pages was permissible while dealing with the suspension of the sentence.

The larger bench would further decide whether or not the IHC bench ignored the guidelines laid down by the apex court and whether the IHC had properly interpreted the provisions of Sections 9(a)(v) and 14(c) of NAO read with Articles 117, 122 to 129 of the Qanun-i-Shahadat Order, 1984 with regards to burden of proof and presumption.

Earlier during the hearing, the chief justice observed that the larger bench if formed may also have Justice Asif Saeed Khosa as its member while some legal wizard from the criminal side should also be made part of the bench.

The court, however, postponed the matter till Dec 12 on the request of Advocate Haris as he informed the chief justice that he was busy before an accountability court defending the Sharifs in two other references namely Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metals Establishment.

On a lighter note, the CJP remarked that he was not feeling well and his doctors told him that Advocate Haris appearance before him gave him palpitations. At this, the entire court chuckled. The chief justice then pointing at journalist Matiullah Jan asked him after how much time he had laughed in his court.

The chief justice announced he was going to postpone further proceedings, because he was leaving for the United Kingdom.

At the outset of the hearing, the chief justice observed that undoubtedly this was a case of grant of leave to appeal and wondered if the court should go for a larger bench or not.

In his reply to NAB’s petition, Advocate Haris argued that he had cited judgements in which the apex court had upheld the suspension of sentence awarded by the Anti-Terrorism Case (ATC), which was also a special court like the accountability court. The high court had the jurisdiction to suspend even death sentence, the counsel added.

Advocate Haris said the jurisdiction of the high court under Article 199 of the Constitution to intervene in matters concerning special courts had been accepted since 2001 after the Asfandyar Wali Khan case, with the only exception of the unreported 1992 Qaim Ali Shah case in which rules and definition of hardship cases had been explained.

The chief justice observed that the defence counsel had referred to the Asfandyar Wali Khan case judgement that had been handed down by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa. “Do you have any objection if Justice Khosa is also made part of the [larger] bench,” the CJP observed, while adding the propensity for doubting or mistrusting state institutions like the judiciary must end.

“The institution will only deliver what is best in the interest of justice,” Justice Nisar said.

The chief justice also emphasized the matter at hand was more of suspension of the sentence and did not revolve around the question of bail. “We have to set the principle right by determining if the high court can go into deeper appreciation on the merits of the case while granting bail or suspending the sentences,” he observed.

Justice Nisar said if there were conflicting judgements in the field on the same subject, then there was a need of settling the same.

In his reply to NAB’s appeal, Advocate Haris representing the Sharifs stated that continuing incarceration of a convict pursuant to a judgement which prima facie suffered from glaring legal defects would constitute a case of hardship. The rejoinder added that the convict in this situation would, prima facie, be unjustly bereft of their right to life, liberty, dignity and freedom of movement as guaranteed by Articles 9, 14 and 15 of the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2018

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Recovery of funds stashed abroad to take time: minister

LAHORE: Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Sunday since Pakistan could not investigate and recover “corruption money stashed abroad” all on its own, the recoveries would take time.

“The money looted by the Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari families belongs to the country and needs to be recovered,” he said at a press conference.

Reacting to the PML-N and PPP leaders’ recent comments that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s leaders were “begging” in different countries, Mr Chaudhry said Prime Minister Imran Khan would not have needed to go abroad to get money had the Sharif and Zardari families returned “83 per cent of Pakistan’s Rs30 trillion loan liability”.

The information minister said the country’s total debt in 2006 was just Rs6tr, but the PPP and PML-N governments pushed it up to Rs30tr.

He said Imran Khan had no personal agenda to carry forward as he only desired to create a social welfare state, while the opposition’s sole agenda was to promote its own interests.

Referring to the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly, he said it was strange that the younger brother (Shahbaz Sharif) wanted to supervise the audit of his elder brother’s (Nawaz Sharif) “corruption” during the past two years.

Says PM will unveil plan on Nov 29 offering relief for the poor

“It is the PTI government’s right to audit the previous government’s bungling in projects executed with public money during 2016-18. The PML-N may take over when the PTI government’s projects are presented before the committee,” he asserted.

Rejecting the PML-N’s demand for appointing Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif as PAC chairman, the minister said the chairmanship could be given to Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari or anyone else in the opposition if it wanted to retain the position. “Will Shahbaz Sharif hold PAC meetings in Kot Lakhpat jail,” he wondered.

The PML-N central spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb immediately responded to Fahad Chaudhry’ remarks, saying the “compulsive thieves” had locked down the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission for five years to hide their “massive corruption” and now they were doing everything to lock down the PAC with the same motive.

“Imran Khan has never been held accountable, he has been let go in cases in which he himself admitted wrongdoings. This is why he has become a repeat offender and wants to hold the PAC hostage,” she said.

Ms Aurangzeb said Fawad Chaudhry needed to get tutored (by her) on the operations and functions of the PAC as he was speaking with little knowledge, that was dangerous, and, as a result, ended up in embarrassing himself.

“Mr Chaudhry should clarify before every press conference whether he is speaking as NAB spokesperson or information minister,” she advised the information minister.

Despite being in power, she said, Imran Khan and his “cronies are obsessed and possessed with the fear” of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif.

“The prime minister should address the nation to explain “billions of rupees corruption” in the Peshawar Metro and Billion Tree Tsunami projects and “proven corruption” of the (previous) KP government.

In reply to a question about the prime minister’s plan of speaking in detail about corruption in Pakistan, Fawad Chaudhry said the premier’s talk on the subject had been delayed because investigators believed that this was not an appropriate time to speak on the subject. “The government is consulting legal minds on the subject.”

In reply to another question about validity of the NAB director-general’s degree, the minister said the degree had never been challenged during the past two decades, adding that the official had recovered Rs4.5 billion in KP.

“The powerful and filthy rich people scream when law starts laying its hands on them and here begins the test of a government,” he said.

“If the PTI does not speak about corruption and catch big fish, it will be betraying its voters,” Mr Chaudhry said and added that the wheels of justice would turn soon and crush every corrupt whether weak or powerful. “The PTI will not go for any muk-muka (deal) with the opposition,” he added.

Apparently referring to the recent three-day protest by a reliogio-political organisation, the minister said a group (of people) was trying to reap political benefits under the cover of religion.

But, he said, the government itself and genuine religious segments in society could take the ownership of true religious narrative.

He said PM Imran Khan wanted to take care of the 2.5 million children studying in seminaries as well as offer due rights to the minorities by establishing a welfare state o the model of Madina’s.

He said the prime minister would unveil the PTI government’s 100-day plan on Nov 29 offering relief to the salaries class as well as the poor.

To a question about government advertisements to print and electronic media, the information minister said the government was the media’s client like any other client and would give advertisements in keeping with its budget.

“The PTI government will not use media advertisements as bribe like (today’s) opposition (parties) did when they were in power,” he said.

The minister said the government would support journalists and that every registered journalist would be given Rs450,000 health card facility.

In a media talk following the information minister’s press conference, Marriyum Aurangzeb said Fawad Chaudhry was a “political mercenary”, and in his desperation to “please his paymaster”, had become more loyal than the king.

“The people of Pakistan have not forgotten the Chaudhry’s conflicting statements while serving different political parties,” she commented and asked him to explain when the PTI government would provide people five million houses, 10 million jobs as well as tell the truth about Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan’s properties abroad worth billions of rupees.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2018

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NAB court verdict issued without comparing assets to income: Nawaz, Maryam argue in SC response

Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz’s responses regarding the suspension of their jail sentences in the Avenfield corruption case were submitted to the Supreme Court on Saturday, in which both have appealed that NAB’s request to revoke their bails be rejected.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on September 19 had ,granted bail, to Nawaz, Maryam and her husband Capt retired Mohammad Safdar after suspending their respective prison sentences ,handed down by an accountability court,.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on October 22 ,challenged before the top court, the IHC decision to suspend the punishments of the three accused.

The SC heard arguments on the appeal from both sides and the hearing was subsequently adjourned till November 12 and both parties were ordered to submit their arguments in writing.

Nawaz in his response has urged the apex court to reject NAB’s plea against the suspension of their sentences.

He has stated that the accountability court announced its decision without providing any evidence of the value of the London flats. “No records were provided which could prove the value of the properties,” the response adds.

NAB built a case around the supposition that the value of assets owned exceeds that of the income but did not state what the assets are worth and what the income amounts to, the reply states.

“A decision was given without comparing the value of the two,” Nawaz has stated, terming the accountability court’s decision non-maintainable.

The parameters involving the revocation of bail differ from those when bail is granted, the response has argued.

The 43-page decision given by the high court consists of 32 pages worth of the counsels’ arguments, whereas the reason for granting bail is covered in 12 pages, it states.

Nawaz has further argued that the high court did not go into the depth of the evidence provided in the reference and that the decision was not a final judgement, rather a prima facie observation.

He states that the accountability court’s decision has legal flaws and to hold a suspect under custody in such conditions falls under the ambit of “unfavourable circumstances” and is contrary to one’s freedom and fundamental rights.

“If I am acquitted in the main case, who will provide redressal for the days I spent in jail?,” Nawaz has stated.

“The entire portion of my known assets has been omitted from the case,” he has argued, further contending that the analytical chart used by the plaintiff to refer to assets and payments is not based on sound legal evidence.

“I was made the owner of the flats based on mere impression in the accountability court’s judgement,” he has argued.

NAB failed to prove any conspiracy: Maryam

Maryam also submitted a separate response asserting that there is no evidence against her pertaining to the ownership of the London flats and that the NAB appeal should be rejected by the SC.

She has argued that without having ascertained the value of the flats, the question of her abetment cannot be raised and that even if the value was determined, her guilt cannot be proven without fulfilling the requirements of the accountability laws.

Maryam has stated that the bureau has outlined four such requirements to fulfil legal conditions.

Among the requirements, it has been outlined that it is incumbent upon NAB to prove that the accused is an office holder. NAB can also not overlook the rule of determining whether the assets are in fact beyond known income.

She further argues that NAB provided no evidence with regard to the value of the flats purchased in London between 1993 and 1996 and neither did it raise any questions regarding the value.

Like Nawaz, she too has argued in her response that without comparing the value of the flats and known income, it is not possible to issue a judgement on the pretext that the value of the properties is greater than the known income.

The response states that there are three legal viewpoints available to determine whether or not the value of assets declared is beyond known sources of income.

Maryam’s response states that on a prima facie basis, the accountability court’s decision was incorrect and that she deserved to be released on bail.

It further states that NAB was unsuccessful in proving any conspiracy or the act of committing a crime with regard to the purchase of flats between 1993 and 1996 and the court’s verdict regarding the purchase of flats cannot be tied to Nawaz Sharif.

Additionally, Maryam’s response states that the court’s decision regarding trust deeds is also in contravention to the law.

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Accountability court agrees to share 50 questions with Nawaz

ISLAMABAD: The accountability court of Islamabad on Friday ‘partially’ agreed to share 50 questions with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif before recording his statement in two references — Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment — filed against him.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) opposed handing over the questionnaire to Mr Sharif prior to the recording of his testimony under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) under which the judge can put a question to an accused person at any stage of the trial.

As per this section, “for the purpose of enabling the accused to explain any circumstances appearing in the evidence against him, the Court may at any stage of any inquiry or trial without previously warning the accused, put such questions to him as the Court considers necessary, and shall, for the purpose aforesaid, question him generally on the case after the witness for the prosecution have been examined and before he is called on for his defence.”

NAB prosecutor in Al-Azizia and Flagship Investment references says handing over questionnaire to ex-PM is tantamount to giving him concession

The head of the prosecution, Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, argued before the court that handing over the questionnaire to the accused was tantamount to giving a concession to the accused person since every question should be surprising and unexpected for him during the course of trial proceedings.

Lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris Ahmed on the other hand said that the accused was seeking the questionnaire not as a concession but it was to assist the court in order to conclude the reference within the stipulated timeframe as set by the Supreme Court.

He explained that during the cross-examination, when the defence counsel put a question to Wajid Zia, star prosecution witness, he consulted several documents and took 30 to 40 minutes to respond to almost every question.

“Don’t you think that the accused has any right to consult the relevant record before every question that may be posed to him by the court during recording of his statement under Section 342 of the CrPC,” the counsel asked.

Mr Haris drew the attention of the court to media reports which claimed that the questionnaire meant for Mr Sharif had been handed over to the special prosecutor of NAB for vetting.

Wasiq Malik, a special prosecutor in this case, told the court that NAB was not vetting any questionnaire since this was a matter between the accused person and the court.

Meanwhile, the accountability judge, Mohammad Arshad Malik, also allowed the application filed by the prosecution to place on record the response to the requests seeking Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) from the British Virgin Island (BVI).

Judge Malik asked the prosecution whether these were the direct evidence, the prosecutor replied that these were not the direct evidence but were circumstantial record.

The court recorded the statement of the last prosecution witness, Mohammad Kamran, in the last reference against the former premier.

The counsel for Mr Sharif will start cross-examination of the witness who is the investigation officer of NAB in the Flagship investment reference.

The judge exempted Mr Sharif from personal appearance on Friday due to security issues and put off further proceeding till Monday (Nov 12).

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2018

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Nawaz’s son owns 17 properties, court told

ISLAMABAD: The last prosecution witness and investigation officer in the Flagship reference testified before the accountability court on Wednesday that a son of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Hassan Nawaz, was the owner of 17 flats and properties in the name of his 18 companies.

While sharing details of the properties with the court, IO Mohammad Kamran also submitted some relevant documents. However, defence counsel Zubair Khalid raised objections to the submission of the documents which he argued were not admissible under the law of evidence.

The witness testified before the court that he visited the United Kingdom to pursue the requests forwarded by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Joint Inves­tigation Team (JIT) for mutual legal assistance. He said an application was submitted to the Companies House to obtain addresses of the companies owned by Mr Hassan. He said NAB’s director general accompanied him during his visit to the UK. He said they visited the Pakistan High Com­mission in the UK on Aug 24, 2017 where the staff provided to them some important documents related to the business of Mr Hassan.

In 2001, the IO said, the total value of the former prime minister’s assets was Rs12.76 million and that of Hussain Nawaz’s assets was Rs33.8 million, while the total value of assets of Mr Hassan was Rs4.36 million. He added that Mr Sharif’s son borrowed and lent money to the companies within and outside the UK.

The accountability court adjourned the proceedings till Thursday as Mr Kamran is yet to conclude his statement. The court after recording his complete testimony would record the statement of the former prime minister in Flagship and Al-Azizia references.

As per the latest deadline given by the Supreme Court to the accountability court, Judge Mohammad Arshad Malik is required to conclude the proceedings in both Flagship and Al-Azizia references by Nov 17.

The Supreme Court on July 28 last year disqualified the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and directed NAB to file three references before the accountability court.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018

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Nisar claims he is still part of PML-N

TAXILA: Estranged PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday dispelled the impression that he had left the party.

“I am still an integral part of the party,” he said while addressing a select group of party workers in Wah.

He said he had differences with party leadership over some issues but this did not mean that he had left the party.

Nisar said he had been with the party for the last 35 years and could not even think of harming Nawaz Sharif or PML-N.
He said had Nawaz Sharif acted on his advice, there would have been a PML-N government in the country today.

He said he had advised Nawaz Sharif against appearing before the six-member joint investigation team.

He said he should have avoided a clash with institutions especially the judiciary and military.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2018

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Faisal Vawda accuses PML-N govt of ‘stealing water’ from Sindh

Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda in the National Assembly on Wednesday accused the previous government of stealing water from Sindh by shutting telemeters through verbal orders.

While responding to a notice moved by PPP members calling attention to the issue of a water shortage in the province, Vawda said he wanted to inform the House that he had caught onto the alleged theft of water committed by the PML-N government.

The minister said the 58 per cent less water than required was being supplied to Sindh.

He claimed that water telemeters were deliberately closed by the previous regime under Nawaz Sharif in an attempt to deprive Sindh from its share of water.

“If I have to request other provinces to be more generous regarding the provision of water for Sindh, I will,” Vawda asserted.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader alleged that the telemeters had been shut down after the issuance of verbal orders, and that the supply of water to the province was being measured manually.

“Nawaz Sharif robbed the rights of another province and stole their water,” he claimed.

The minister alleged that along with stealing money, the government had stolen another province’s share of water.

The PTI leader said he would meet Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah to find a solution to the issue.

“I will proceed shoulder to shoulder with the Sindh government on this issue,” he said.

Abbasi, Vawda at loggerheads

Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi responded to the comments made by Vawda saying that the minister had alleged that Sindh and Balochistan’s water was being stolen and given to Punjab, which he said was a serious allegation.

Abbasi said that a special committee of the House regarding the allegations should be created or it should be sent to the relevant standing committee for deliberation. He said that it should be found out on whose order water from the two provinces was being stolen and given to Punjab.

“We also have a lot to say, but the respect of the House should be maintained,” he said.

Vawda interjected, saying that no committee would be created and that he would himself present any report on the matter in the House. He added that there would be no compromise on any sort of theft.

Vawda warned that if that if there was theft, he would use “non-parliamentary” language and that his actions would also be “non-parliamentary”.

He alleged that the PML-N had stolen from all organisations, to which Abbasi responded: “Look at his tone and his choice of words.”

He said that if Vawda used the word ‘thief’ again, he would call him and his father the same.

The former prime minister alleged that “those who stole the election” were using the word ‘theft’ in every conversation in an attempt to distract from their own actions.

During the exchange of words between the PML-N and PTI lawmakers, Minister for Communications Murad Saeed jumped in, also accusing the opposition of being “certified thieves”.

Saeed demanded that that if there was rigging in the election, it should be made evident. He added that everyone knew who had engaged in rigging in the previous election.

PLM-N members raised a ruckus in objection to the comments made by Saeed, saying that they should also be given an opportunity to speak and began chanting slogans in favour of their party while Vawda was speaking.

The minister for water resources called the attention of the NA speaker to the behaviour of the parliamentarians, saying that the session could not continue this way.

Vawda once again joined in the back-and-forth, saying that even if Abbasi called his father a thief, he would remain silent.

Saeed taunted the opposition, saying that all PML-N leaders and their family members were either arrested or absconding.

In the Panamagate case, Saeed said, every member of the Sharif family had shifted blame onto each other, and in the end, the blame was shifted to the late Sharif patriarch.

He claimed that it was not the PTI but the PML-N government that was responsible for the economic crisis Pakistan was going through.

He added that the National Assembly session is broadcast on television and wondered what people would think.

The NA session has been postponed till Thursday evening.

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Pakistan hasn’t committed to become part of any conflict in exchange for Saudi package: Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the Senate on Wednesday that Pakistan has not agreed to become part of any conflict in the Middle East in exchange for the ,financial assistance package from Saudi Arabia,.

“Pakistan has received an unconditional package [from Saudi Arabia]. No conditions have been imposed,” the minister said while responding to concerns expressed by opposition senators.

Examine: ,What’s the Saudi deal?,

The confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia has reached “unprecedented levels” as the two countries fight for regional dominance in Yemen and Syria, the minister observed, adding that the strain could affect the entire region, including Pakistan.

Considering the importance of the issue, Prime Minister Imran Khan had offered to play a mediatory role to resolve the Yemen conflict, Qureshi told the upper house.

He recalled that former premier Nawaz Sharif too had tried to arbitrate in the Yemen dispute, but had remained unsuccessful.

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He informed the house that the Iranian foreign minister had said his country would welcome and “respond positively” Pakistan’s role in the Yemen dispute. He said he was also seeing a “slight shift” in Saudi Arabia’s position with regard to the war and progress could be made by continuous engagement.

He said Pakistan’s relations with Saudi Arabia had been frosty for a few years and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government has been successful in rectifying the same.

“We have re-engaged [the Saudis]… and the vacuum has been broken,” he said, adding that the PTI government has been able to reach the understanding that the previous two governments could not.

He said the $6 billion package pledged by the Kingdom for Pakistan, including balance-of-payments support and deferred oil payments, has curbed economic uncertainty in the country.

Visit to China ‘highly beneficial’

The foreign minister said Prime Minister Khan’s recent visit to China had been “highly beneficial” for the country, adding that this was the first time the top four Chinese leaders had separately met the Pakistani leadership.

“We have agreed to upgrade strategic dialogue between China and Pakistan to the foreign ministers’ level,” Qureshi said while highlighting the successes of the visit.

Read: ,Was Imran’s visit to China a failure? Yes. Here’s why,

He said China has suggested it wants to help Pakistan because it recognises the country’s significance, and that it is ready to rectify the trade imbalance between the two countries by giving Pakistan market access.

China has also agreed to play its role in a “trilateral engagement” to advance the Afghan peace process, he announced. A meeting in this regard will be held in Kabul in December, to be attended by China, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He assured the Senate that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects that have already been started will reach completion; however, the PTI government has “tried to give [the project] a new direction”.

The government’s focus in the second phase of the mega project has shifted from infrastructure to livelihoods, human development and a “people-centric approach”, the minister revealed. The sectors targeted under this approach would include education, health, skill development, poverty alleviation, agriculture, industrialisation and a fast-track development of Gwadar.

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