Hudaibiya case: SC asks NAB to explain charges, furnish evidence

The Supreme Court (SC), on Tuesday, directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to provide detail of evidences to establish the alleged offence of the Sharif family in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills money laundering scam.
The three-judge bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mian Alam Khel, resumed hearing of NAB’s plea against Lahore High Court’s (LHC) three-year old verdict on quashing of the case.
During the hearing, the bench asked the country’s top graft buster to produce incriminating evidence against the Sharifs besides seeking details of the money trail to determine that the alleged ill-gotten money was transferred to the suspects’ accounts from fictitious accounts opened in the name of Qazi family, which allegedly acted as facilitator in the scam in the 1990s.
The top court also questioned former finance minister Ishaq Dar’s confessional statement in the money laundering case, noting the statement should have been recorded before the accountability court or NAB chairman under the law.
“If Dar’s confessional statement goes out of picture then what incriminating evidence you have in this case,” Justice Isa asked prosecutor for the anti-graft watchdog. “The 17-year-old Hudaibiya matter must end one way or the other,” he remarked.
The top court bench further asked the bureau to inform the court about the legal implications of sending then prime minister Nawaz Sharif into exile by former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
On Monday, the apex court came down hard on NAB lawyer for relying only on the Panamagate case judgment to justify its appeal for reopening the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference against the Sharif family.
Some 17 years ago, NAB claimed that Nawaz Sharif, then prime minister, and his family received more than Rs1 billion “through illegal and fraudulent means” and that they were liable to be tried under anti-corruption laws in relation to the Hudaibiya Papers Mills.
In 2014, LHC quashed the reference concerning the Hudaibiya Papers Mills against the Sharif family. However, the anti-graft watchdog did not challenge the LHC’s order at that time.
According to NAB documents, Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz, his father Mian Muhammad Sharif, brothers Shehbaz and Abbas Sharif, Abbas’s wife Sabiha, Sharif’s son Hussain and Shahbaz’s son Hamza had been accused of receiving the alleged ‘ill-gotten money’ in the case.
Later, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief Imran Khan in the Panamagate case requested the apex court direct NAB to file appeal in this matter and the court summoned then NAB chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry to get his opinion on filing of appeal.
Chaudhry, however, stood with his earlier view of not filing the appeal. But later, when the bench again took up the matter on a plea of Awami Muslim League Chief Sheikh Rasheed, NAB assured the bench to move petition in this matter.