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September 24, 2017

Nawaz calls Shahbaz to London for discussion


September 24, 2017


Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has asked Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to come to London where they would hold discussions on some important issues directly related to references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the Sharif family members and election of president of ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), sources told The News.

The sources said the election of new president of the PML-N would come under discussion between Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif as the Constitution of the PML-N limits the tenure of acting president to 45 days so it would have to hold election for this slot in first week of October.

They said the central executive committee of the PML-N appointed Senator Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir as acting president of the party on August 17 and he would complete his 45-day tenure at the start of the next month. The sources said Shahbaz Sharif would reach London on September 23 (today) and have a meeting with Nawaz Sharif in which he would also inform him about his (Shahbaz) recent meeting with former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

"Shahbaz Sharif and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan are of the view that the PML-N leadership should avoid criticising the state institutions that may cause problems for the party in the political field," the sources said.

Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan told The News that passage of Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 from the Parliament has paved the way for Nawaz Sharif to become president of the PML-N.

"Now I can say Nawaz Sharif is all set to become president of PML-N and he will lead the party with more passion and dedication. Conspiracies against Nawaz Sharif have failed because he enjoys the support of people of Pakistan," he said. He said the bill was first unanimously approved by the National Assembly committee and then it was passed in the Lower House of the Parliament, adding, "The Senate committee also approved it after which it was passed in the Upper House of the Parliament."

Meanwhile, the sources said a senior lawyer has given a suggestion to Nawaz Sharif that the Sharif family members should appear before the accountability court to defend themselves against interim references filed by the NAB that according to him have been prepared on 'weak legal grounds' and carry nothing substantial against them. However, the Sharif family members have so far not decided whether they should accept this legal advice or continue to stay away from the proceedings of the NAB references in the accountability court.

The sources said Khawaja Haris who reached Lahore from London on Friday held a detailed meeting with Nawaz Sharif that lasted for couple of hours in which he also pointed out that NAB may file supplementary references against the Sharif family if it gets any new material about their foreign properties from Saudi Arabia or any other country. They said the NAB wrote a letter last month under the mutual legal assistance to authorities in Saudi Arabia seeking details of properties of the Sharif family but it is yet to receive any kind of reply from them.

The Supreme Court verdict given on July 28 clearly stated: "NAB may file supplementary reference(s) if and when any other asset, which is not prima facie reasonably accounted for, is discovered."

The sources said it has also been pointed out in the meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Khawaja Haris that why the NAB filed interim references if the Supreme Court stated in its verdict that "the JIT undertook the task thus assigned and submitted a complete investigation report on 10.07.2017."

It has been indicated in the NAB references that "requests for mutual legal assistance have been forwarded by the JIT and response of same is till awaited, which will be placed before this Hon'ble Court, when received from foreign jurisdiction. So under this scenario, this reference may be treated as interim reference." The sources said it was highlighted in the meeting that if the JIT report was 'complete' as declared by the Supreme Court judgement then why did the NAB file interim references.

When contacted, a senior PML-N leader, who requested anonymity, argued that if the July 28 judgement states that "the counsel for Nawaz Sharif contested that the salary shown in the employment contract in effect never constituted an ‘asset’ for respondent number 1 then why the court did not send this for trial also as a ‘contested fact’ and allow due process.”

In his written version, Minister for Privatization Danyal Aziz stated: "In my opinion the main concern right now is the health and wellbeing of Kulsoom Nawaz undergoing cancer surgery and not the ‘interim’ (read incomplete), returned by NAB court ‘source document’, Empty Volume 10 and so-called 'references '."

"If a 'dead' organisation (referring to NAB) had to clean up and improve the ‘interim, ‘ongoing’ yet declared ‘complete’ investigation report, what does it say about the rest of them," he said. 

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