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PTI unable to resolve mystery of Rs300 billion ‘looted’ by Nawaz

June 11, 2018

ISLAMABAD: In a number of public gatherings and TV talk shows Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has accused Nawaz Sharif of looting Rs300 billion or Rs3000 crores from Pakistan but a detailed probe by The News about the origin of the mysterious figures revealed that the number is mythical as no one even in PTI is willing to share any calculations to prove the exact amount.

It was revealed that the amount of Rs300 billion is not mentioned in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) or references filed in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. This correspondent also checked the court documents and spoke to NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi and several PTI leaders about the exact number but could not get affirmative response to the query about Rs300 billion figure.

Despite this, the magical number is repeated so often by Imran and other PTI leaders in public rallies and TV talk shows that it is considered an established fact by majority of the party supporters. When contacted, several PTI leaders said the party’s secretary Information and central spokesperson Fawad Hussain Chaudhry is the man behind this quoted number. Speaking to The News, Fawad said actually his accountant calculated the figure which literally amounts to Rs270 or Rs272 billion. Even he did not insist that it was exact Rs300 billion.

“The figure is based on transactions between 16 offshore companies allegedly owned by Sharif family,” he told The News. He also shared a presentation showing some transactions between offshore companies taking place between 1992 to 1994 but the transactions did not amount to Rs300 billion.

Fawad promised to share the calculations made by his accountant but despite repeated contacts for last 8 days he did not share the same.

The News also contacted senior PTI leader Shafqat Mehmood to get to the origin of Rs300 billion but he said he is unaware of the method through which these calculations were made. “A flat owned by Hassan and Hussain is worth Rs600 crore and Avenfield apartment will also be worth around 1 billion,” Shafqat said. However, when asked about Rs300 billion he directed this correspondent toward Fawad Chaudhry.

The PTI secretary information also asked this correspondent to contact PTI senior member Ms Mashal who shared some slides about the alleged corruption of Nawaz Sharif. However she also expressed inability to calculate Rs300 billion. “Initially we did not even know it was Rs300 billion. All we knew was that there is something fishy,” she said adding: “Fawad usually quotes Rs300 billion, he should know the detailed calculations”.

When contacted by The News, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi who appears in corruption cases against Nawaz Sharif and family before the Accountability Court also said he does not know about Rs300 billion figure. “You should speak to NAB spokesman on the issue,” he told this correspondent.

Assad Malik, a senior journalist who covered the entire proceedings in the Accountability Court No 1 ever since the trial against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was initiated also express ignorance towards the figure of Rs300 billion. “This number never came up during the proceedings of the court during last several months,” Malik told The News.

When contacted by The News, senior PML-N leader and former minister for Information Pervez Rashid said the PTI leaders are using a concocted figure in public rallies as part of media trial of former prime minister. “They never quoted Rs300 billion figure in any court of law. NAB never used this figure in its any investigation then how did PTI came up with this number?” he asked rhetorically. He said leveling baseless allegations are easy. “In similar pattern I can started saying in public gatherings that Imran has looted Rs600 billion. But this is unjust and bad tradition to level baseless allegations in public gathering instead of courts,” he said.

When asked about possible transaction between 16 offshore companies allegedly owned by Sharif, he said he does not know the exact details about Sharif business but this was the first case in the history of NAB where no public project has been mentioned in a corruption case.

“In previous cases against former prime ministers and president Zardari exact projects like Rental Power etc are mentioned as source of corruption but in Nawaz case NAB is not claiming that he looted money from any specific project,” Rashid said.