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Karachi

April 8, 2016

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Why can’t a judicial commission probe my cases, asks Dr Asim

Karachi

“If Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif can set up a high-level judicial commission to probe the revelation of offshore assets by him and his family, then one should also be set up to probe corruption allegations against me. Both of us face the same allegations of accumulation of unlawful wealth and the law should treat everyone equally,” demanded former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain on Thursday.

Dr Asim was talking to reporters outside the accountability court hearing the references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) pertaining to the alleged embezzlement of Rs450 billion.  

He said the leaked Panama Papers had revealed that the premier’s daughter Mariam and sons, Hussain and Hassan, owned at least three offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands. He said the prime minister had only set up a judicial commission to probe allegations against his family while he, on the other hand, had braved tough incarceration by the paramilitary personnel even though the cases were pretty similar. “These investigators will only leave me when I am dead,” he remarked bitterly.

He also complained that that he was not being provided with adequate health facilities and was being treated by personnel of the Central Jail Karachi, not certified medical practitioners.

“Personnel of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) pay me visits at absurd hours and it can be dangerous for my frail nerves. I am already a heart patient,” he said.

The accountability court is hearing several cases against Dr Asim including money laundering, possession of illegal lands, disposing of government land and awarding contracts in violation of the rules and procedures.

In Thursday’s hearing, the accountability court issued notice to the prison authorities concerned to submit a reply on April 9 on Dr Asim’s plea.

It also directed the prosecutors to separate the cases of three absconding associates of Dr Asim in one case — Abdul Majeed, Syed Athar Hussain and Masood Haider. The court has already issued non-bailable arrest warrants for them.

In a similar case, the court directed NAB to provide copies of the reference being heard to two more co-accused, Ejaz Chaudhry and Akhtar Hussain, who are under detention. Dr Asim faces two cases — first is a reference filed by NAB and is being heard by the accountability court while the other is being heard by the anti-terrorism court and pertains to sheltering of criminals and terrorists.

Meanwhile, The News learnt that another reference is being prepared against Dr Asim and senior officials of the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC).

Earlier, the Rangers’ attorney submitted applications against the Investigation Officer and the incharge f maalkhana, claiming that both officials were trying to influence the case.

However IO DSP Altaf Hussain countered that Rangers had their own view about the trial yet he would not budge from the interrogation he had conducted.

The former federal minister and chairman of the Sindh Higher Education Commission was a close aide of former President Asif Ali Zardari.

He was first booked in a case for alleged facilitation of terrorists and providing them treatment to alleged criminals at his hospitals with Muttahida leaders Waseem Akhtar and Rauf Siddiqui.

The anti-terrorism court issued non-bailable warrants of arrest against two more Muttahida leaders, Anis Qaimkhani and Saleem Shehzad, and also a leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, Qadir Patel. Meanwhile, Usman Moazzam, secretary-general of Pasban, was also picked up by Rangers and kept under 90-day detention in cases connected to Dr Asim.

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