- PML-N leader was presented in court today after expiring of his 14-day remand
- NAB alleges that Khawaja Asif has failed to provide sources of his money
- PML-N leader maintains that he provided all records to authorities
LAHORE: PML-N leader Khawaja Asif’s physical remand in an assets beyond means case was extended by an accountability court at NAB’s request .
The PML-N leader was presented before the court today at the expiry of his 14-day remand.
During the hearing, the NAB prosecutor told the court that Asif had transferred money into a company account which was owned by his servant.
At this, Asif’s counsel responded saying that all the money being mentioned by NAB has been officially declared.
To this, the judge hearing the case asked NAB if a money laundering charge was being brought forth, and was responded to in the affirmative.
“Yes, [money laundering did happen]. He [Khawaja Asif] is not providing the details of Rs130 million sent by a foreign company,” the NAB prosecutor told the court.
He argued that Asif should share the source of those funds.
The anti-corruption watchdog also told the court that they had made a “major breakthrough” in Khawaja Asif’s case during the interrogation.
“Khawaja Asif had been taking a regular income from [employment in] Dubai but did not provide a bank statement,” said the NAB prosecutor-general.
He added that the PML-N leader had accepted that he was withdrawing a salary but could not provide any supporting evidence for the claim.
NAB’s counsel told the court that the PML-N leader had also formed a company with a man named Tariq Mir, but did not share the source of the company’s funding. He added that Mir had deposited Rs510.17 million in the company account.
The NAB prosecutor said that Asif did not tell them where the money came from. He further claimed that Tariq Mir and another man named Arshad Javed are close associates of the former foreign minister.
Upon hearing this, the court asked NAB who withdrew money from the company’s accounts.
To this, NAB told the court that Tariq Mir used to make the withdrawals.
On the other hand, Khawaja Asif’s counsel Farooq H. Naek, arguing that his client was being framed in a politically motivated case, told the court that the inquiry against the PML-N leader had started in March 2019.
The court on hearing this asked Naek who was in power at the time, and was informed that the PTI was ruling the country.
“Had the [Opposition’s] long march started by then?” the judge asked, sparking laughter in the court.
Naek responded saying the Opposition’s agitation has just begun. At this, the court told the lawyer that an inquiry against a suspect can be initiated at any time.
Naek then argued that his client had responded to all questions initially asked of him by NAB Rawalpindi, yet his case was abruptly transferred from NAB Rawalpindi to NAB Lahore and he was arrested in haste.
He insisted that a political case had been formed against his client.
The judge, after hearing arguments from both sides, extended the PML-N leader’s remand for another 10 days and asked the bureau to present him again on January 22.
This is the second time that the PML-N leader has been sent on remand by the accountability court.
Last month, the accountability court had sent Asif on 14-day physical remand at the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request.
The remand request was put forward by the accountability watchdog to investigate the PML-N leader before Accountability Court’s Admin Judge Jawadul Hasan.
Khawaja Asif arrested from Islamabad
The PML-N leader was arrested last month by NAB in an assets beyond means case.
NAB had said that Asif was taken into custody in the backdrop of an ongoing investigation into allegations of him possessing assets beyond known sources of income.
The PML-N leader was arrested near PML-N general secretary Ahsan Iqbal’s house.
The PML-N leader was at Iqbal’s house to take part in a debate on whether the PML-N will take part in Senate elections or not.
Asif left the meeting and was moments later arrested near Iqbal’s residence.