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‘Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Key Saath’: Salman Shahbaz parries questions, hurls counter allegations

Salman has rejected allegations as baseless by the PTI government that he has been involved in money-laundering, retaliating that Imran Khan’s own sisters Aleema and Rubina Khan and PTI ministers and leaders are the real money-launderers and that PM Imran Khan has questions to answer about his own “unexplained” assets worth Rs4 billion.

By Murtaza Ali Shah & News Desk
April 16, 2019

LONDON/ISLAMABAD: Salman Shahbaz, son of PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, Monday parried questions about him and his family while speaking in ‘Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Key Saath’ programme of Geo News and hurled counter-allegations on Prime Minister Imran Khan, his sisters and close aides.

Shahzeb Khanzada questioned that it is a straightforward allegation that 70 people, 14 of whom are even not on Nadra record, sent money to him through fake telephonic transactions (TTs) after 2008. He said before that, money was sent to the accounts of Hamza Shahbaz, his mother and sisters. “Fake TT is a crime and you have to answer it,” Khanzada questioned.

Salman Shahbaz has rejected allegations as baseless and frivolous by the Pakistan Threek-e-Insaf (PTI) government that he has been involved in money-laundering, retaliating that Imran Khan’s own sisters Aleema and Rubina Khan and PTI ministers and leaders are the real money-launderers and that Imran Khan has questions to answer about his own “unexplained” assets worth Rs4 billion.

He said the PTI leaders and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) have alleged that the former chief minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and his sons Hamza and Salman, who is in London these days with his family, have been involved in money laundering of Rs85 billion.

Salman Sharif accused “selected prime minister” Imran Khan of running “media trial” of Sharifs and PPP leadership through “selected anchors” to deflect attention from the real issues of price hike, electricity shortage, unbearable living costs and economic meltdown brought about by the “incompetent and clueless” team of PTI.

Salman Shahbaz rejected allegations that he has been involved in money laundering and announced that he will be taking legal action against the government ministers involved in lying through national media on behest of the prime minister.

“I brought money from abroad into Pakistan for investment and that’s not money laundering. Each and everything that I own is declared with the FBR. Every penny that I invested in Pakistan is declared and on board and record of each and every asset and business that I have ever owned is available with the relevant Pakistani authorities,” said Salman.

Shahzeb said if the money is brought for investment then how this investment came through TTs. “You had assets of Rs20,000 in 2003 as you were a student at that time. But your assets increased to Rs270 million in 2009 out of which Rs267 million came through reverse remittances. Then your assets increased to Rs1.3 billion in 2017. If this is investment then it is someone else’s money. How it became your assets as it landed in your account,” Shahzeb questioned.

Salman Shahbaz said the reality is that Imran Khan’s own sisters Aleema and Rubina and his ministers including Faisal Vawda, Khusro Bakhtiyar and allies such as Chaudhrys of Gujarat and Jahangir Tareen have been involved in money-laundering of billions, sending money out of Pakistan, to make assets abroad through offshore structures.

“Aleema Khan, Rubian Khan, Jahangir Tareen, Faisal Vawda, Khusro Bakhtiyar and many PTI leaders laundered money from Pakistan and made assets abroad but Imran Khan has given them NRO. He has dry-cleaned their dirty money in the Imran Laundry Services. He should explain how Jahangir Tareen has Swiss accounts and how was he able to make £8 million Hyde House? Why are NAB and FIA silent on Tareen’s Swiss accounts and billions hidden in those accounts,” he asked.

Salman Sharif accused that Imran Khan has set up a media cell in PM House and its members are tasked daily to make new allegations as well repeat the old ones to make them sound truthful. “Imran Khan is using NAB, FIA and IB to target Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Hamza, my father and PPP leadership,” he claimed.

“Imran Khan has attention span of only five minutes. He has no plan to take control of the economic meltdown because he doesn’t understand the nuances of business and economic revival. He has no governance plan and his policies have failed, and for him lying and making new allegations is the way forward,” said Salman Sharif.

He said: “Imran Khan promised that he will bring to Pakistan Rs300 billion of Nawaz Sharif from abroad after coming into power. I ask him where is that money now? Why didn’t he bring that amount to Pakistan? He knows that he lied about that and now he wants to hide behind more allegations by accusing us of corruption. I challenge him to bring the alleged billions and give some of it to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) instead of going around like a beggar and asking for money.”

Salman said that he didn’t know anyone called Mahboob Ali and had never dealt with him.

Shahzeb said if he doesn’t know who is Mahboob Ali then at least he should tell who shifted the amount to his account and accounts of Hamza, his mother and sisters.

Salman said that all his record was available with the Pakistani authorities and PTI government was picking up “bits and pieces” from here and there and leaking to media for media trial and character assassination campaigns.

He alleged that some “selected pro PTI anchors” are being used by the Prime Minister House to run character assassination campaign against Sharrifs and other opponents of the PTI.

“My father was detained by NAB for 120 days on allegations of corruption of billions, kickbacks and commission and what not but then found nothing against him. The Lahore High Court made it clear that NAB actions were malafide and unfair. I challenge the PTI government to prove corruption of single Rupee by my father or myself. There is a media onslaught against us and we have right to tell truth to Pakistani public,” he said.

Salman said that he has never held a public office and there’s no question of him misusing his authority or for that matter anyone in his family.

He said, “In 2012, Imran Khan declared that the value of his assets is only Rs120 million, but within years his assets ballooned to Rs4 billion. He has never worked all these years and he must explain how he made these assets. Is it because the PTI had government in KP for five years and Imran Khan received commissions and kickbacks, if his logic is to be believed? He has held public office for a long time and must explain his Rs4 billion to the public.”

Salman said that he was living in London because his mother was getting treatment here; his newly born niece is getting treatment and also there was no hope of justice from the NAB because “NAB is using laws of apartheid to carry out dirty work for PTI. NAB is using its black laws for Imran Khan’s government to help hide its incompetence and failures. The only purpose of NAB is to target opponents of PTI. It puts people behind bars for months and doesn’t give them fair chance or legal right to defend. The political arm of PTI cannot do justice.”