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January 18, 2018

Wanted Asif Hashmi wants to return


January 18, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Asif Hashmi, self-exiled former chairman of Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), said that he wanted to appear before the apex court but he had been denied the Pakistani passport on the pretext that his name was on Exit Control List (ECL)

I want to come to Pakistan and appear before the courts as my hands are clean and I have done nothing wrong. Despite my repeated requests, I have not been issued passport baring my right to return," said Asif Hashmi while exclusively talking to this correspondent from Dubai.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan in a recent proceeding of a case related to ETPB had directed federal government to devise a mechanism for producing Mr Hashmi before the court within 15 days. Asif Hashmi, who is facing allegations of corruption by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), has been in exile for last more than four years. Initially he spent some time in London but later shifted to Dubai. In this regard, Interpol was also approached by the FIA however on December 8, 2017 Interpol through a formal letter written to Mr Hashmi informed that he was no more wanted by them.

Asif Hashmi appealed to Chief Justice Justice Saqib Nisar to issue an order of his return respectfully saying that some elements had misled the court regarding his conduct. He said each time he approached the embassy he was told that his name was on ECL so they could not issue him the passport.

While talking about a controversial agreement between ETPB and Defence Housing Authority (DHA), under debate in Supreme Court, Mr Hashmi said, “The agreement was inked under the legal umbrella. Moreover, FIA in its challan had already admitted that they had found no clue about kickbacks or money as it was a matter between two government departments.” He added that FIA had also admitted that they had nothing to recover from him. "If I did not violate the law , why FIA wants me," he asked.

He said that it was matter of record that final approval for the agreement was given by the then federal government. When asked about the allotment of precious lands to the employees of ETPB, Hashmi said that he, during his tenure as chairman, had 10 percent discretionary powers to allot land but he did not use his discretionary power.

He said that plots were allotted to only those who were entitled and were employees of his department and the ministry. Asif Hashmi said that a malicious campaign had been orchestrated against him but he would dispel all the misunderstandings about him once he was back.

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