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December 7, 2019

Yes, Shahbaz Sharif employed alleged money launderers in CM’s office

Top Story

December 7, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Two suspicious characters — Imtiaz Gill and Ali Ahmad — were employed by the-then Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif as his staff members but they even during those days were more known for their association with Suleman Shahbaz than anything else.

Independent sources confirmed the PTI government allegations that Gill and Ahmad were given some titles — like Director Political Affairs and Director Strategy — but they were not part of the hardcore bureaucratic team of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

These two people had no office in the CM Secretariat and they rarely even had any interaction with the Secretariat’s bureaucracy but were mostly seen in the private office of Suleman Shahbaz at 55H Model Town. They were also found in the Model Town Office of the then Punjab chief minister.

These two people were generally referred to as the class fellows and friends of Suleman Shahbaz. The sources said that they were appointed as directors on meager salaries like Rs30,000 a month each but were not doing any official work associated with the CM Secretariat.

At that time the bureaucracy working in the CM Secretariat had no idea what Gill and Ahmad were actually doing. There was a general perception that the two might have been favoured by Suleman Shahbaz because of his past association with them.

However, now the government revelation alleged that these two people were key characters involved in money laundering for Shahbaz Sharif family. Although mostly they are linked with Suleman, the fundamental question arises why Shahbaz Sharif offered them official position.

For the same reason, Barrister Shahzad Akbar put some relevant questions to Shahbaz Sharif which include if Nisar Gill and Ali Ahmad were not appointed as director political affairs and director strategy respectively by Shahbaz Sharif in the CM Office.

The government alleged that these two men were the front-men of Shahbaz Sharif and Suleman Shahbaz for money laundering and corruption. They were alleged to be the owners of a company named Good Nature Trading, which was involved in money matter for Suleman Shahbaz.

Nisar Gill is also alleged to have visited some foreign countries along with Suleman Shahbaz. The government alleged that the two had transferred huge amounts in the accounts of Shahbaz Sharif family.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar on Thursday in a press conference alleged that PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif was involved in corruption worth billions of rupees, claiming his assets had grown by 70 percent during the last 10 years.

Shahzad Akbar pointed out that three employees of Shahbaz's GMC Company, who were found involved in running a multi-billion rupee network, were working at the CM Secretariat on different posts and challenged him to respond to them.

Shahzad Akbar also called on the NAB to probe the Good Nature Trading Company under which billions were laundered through the fake TTs. He explained that the GMC emerged when investigation was carried out against the assets of Sharif family. He said through over 200 TTs, billions were ‘transferred’.

Independent sources also believe that the money laundering case against Shahbaz Sharif family appears to be the most serious among all cases presently being pursued by the NAB against the former Punjab chief minister and members of his family.

In this particular case, the government has yet to find any evidence whether money involved in laundering has anything to do with kickbacks, commissions and corruption or is the consequence of a general practice of big businessmen of Pakistan who don’t show their full profits to avoid taxes and thus launder their untaxed income by using hundi and remittances modes.

However, despite this “usual practice” of the big businessmen this case may really haunt the Sharif family because of the kind of evidence regarding alleged doubtful remittances received by different members of Shahbaz Sharif family and also because of the fact that two people used for the alleged money laundering were employed in the CM Office.