- Hussain says Avenfield case is a reminder of how his Nawaz, Maryam were jailed in bogus cases to manipulate elections.
- Former prime minister’s son says JIT and NAB were never interested in finding actual answers.
- Says Nawaz and Maryam’s victimisation, started in the name of accountability, was to target the family.
LONDON: PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s eldest son Hussain has said his sister’s acquittal in the Avenfield Reference by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) was a victory for “fair play” and also a reminder of how his father and Maryam were jailed in 2018 in bogus cases to manipulate the elections.
In an interview with Geo.tv, Hussain welcomed IHC’s decision which set aside the convictions of Maryam and her husband Captain Safdar.
The son of the former prime minister claimed that the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) were “never interested in finding the real and actual answers regarding the purchase of the Avenfield flats in the mid-1990s because their objective was to target, humiliate and jail Maryam and Nawaz to engineer the political process.”
“When you resort to unnatural actions, the outcome is unnatural too. An attempt was made to link our grandfather Mian Sharif’s assets to Nawaz Sharif when it was clear that Mian Sharif was not a public office holder. These flats were acquired by Mian Sharif. If these investigations were turned towards Mian Sharif then all answers would be found and answered but the JIT was not interested in those answers. They were interested only in victimising Nawaz, to target him and to target his politics,” said Hussain.
Hussain said that Mian Sharif started his businesses in the late 1930s and early 1940s, before the creation of Pakistan, and set up several companies as his business empire expanded.
While sharing details, the eldest son of Nawaz said that the “Ittefaq Foundries” was set up before Pakistan’s creation. It used to be in Lahore city and later it was moved to Kot Lakhpat where the factory was started, he added.
“Mian Sharif had around 32 companies which were registered including Ittefaq Foundries Ltd, Ittefaq Brothers Ltd, Brothers Steel ltd, Ilyas Enterprises Ltd, Ittefaq Sugar Mills Ltd, Ramzan Sugar Mills Ltd, Chaudhary Sugar Mills Ltd. The textile business isn’t included in this list,” he said.
Hussain claimed that during the Panama case investigations, the JIT was invited to look at the whole case including the origin of the money but it did not as their objective was not a fair investigation but “revenge”.
“The family is thankful to Allah for the acquittal of Maryam and we have offered shukrana nawafil at the outcome. We have left all our matters to Allah and pray to him for justice,” he added
Hussain said the victimisation of Nawaz and Maryam started in 2016 in the name of accountability and the whole purpose was to target the family.
“In between, we suffered the irreplaceable loss of my mother and grandmother. We will never get them back,” said Hussain.
Speaking about his father’s cases, Hussain claimed that when the IHC judges asked NAB about his links with the Avenfield flats NAB had no answers.
“The court has asked NAB how it could link Avenfield flats with and what evidence they had furnished before the court. NAB had no answer. If this was linked with Mian Sharif then the matter would be totally different and all answers would be found but that’s not what was desired,” he said.
Last week, IHC overturned the conviction of Maryam and Captain (retd) Safdar in the Avenfield Reference. The court said that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations put forward against the couple.
The Panama Papers case started in 2016 when the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung obtained around 11.5m files from the database of one of the world’s biggest offshore law firms, Mossack Fonseca, and shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The papers revealed that the Sharif Family owns four flats in the posh localities of London’s Mayfair and Park Lane. The Supreme Court took suo-motu notice and formed a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to investigate the allegations.
The JIT submitted its report to the apex court and recommended forwarding references against Nawaz and his children to NAB.
Multiple references were filed against Nawaz, Maryam, Hassan and Hussain in the NAB. The Avenfield Reference was one of them.
In July 2018, an Islamabad accountability court sentenced Nawaz to 10 years and slapped a fine of £8 million in a case linked to the Sharif family’s purchase of the flats.
The PML-N founder’s daughter Maryam and Captain Safdar were accused in the case as well. Maryam was sentenced to seven years in prison and a fine of £2 million was imposed on her. Safdar, on the other hand, was given a punishment of a year in prison.
Maryam and Safdar had challenged their convictions in IHC and it acquitted both of them over a lack of evidence.