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Toshakhana Reference: Accountability court orders seizure of Nawaz Sharif’s assets

An accountability court on Thursday ordered the confiscation of the assets owned by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Toshakhana reference, days after he was proclaimed an absconder in the case that allegedly caused a hefty loss to the national exchequer.

According to the report, the assets that the court ordered to seize includes a 1,650-kanal agricultural land in Lahore, a Mercedes, a Land Cruiser, two tractors, local and foreign bank accounts, 102-kanal land in Sheikhupura and a bungalow in Murree.

The hearing was conducted by Judge Asghar Ali of AC-III on the Toshakhana reference, which was forwarded by National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The reference also names former president Asif Ali Zardari and ex-prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani among the accused.

The Toshakhana case is about alleged relaxation in rules by ex-premier Gilani,68, for the benefit of Asif Zardari, 65, and Nawaz Sharif to purchase vehicles gifted by foreign countries.

During the hearing, the prosecutor representing the national anti-graft watchdog also presented records of Nawaz’s assets.

Nawaz Sharif is accused of obtaining luxury cars from the treasury house by paying just 15 per cent of the price of these vehicles.

Likewise, Asif Zardari and ex-premier Gilani, are also accused of receiving luxury vehicles and gifts from the treasure house.

Asif Zardari’s lawyer Farooq Hamid Naek conducted a cross examination of the prosecution witness Imran Zafar. The witness told the court that he had appointed in Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in 2010 and was promoted to the post of deputy director in 2018.

The witness, in a question, told the court that he had been working as record keeper in election commission, adding that he had given the details of former president Asif Zardari’s assets to NAB on the directives of chief election commissioner (CEC).

Zardari’s lawyer said in his objection that the witness had produced no such order along with case documents showing the CEC letter in court and said the ECP had not given any such permission.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prosecutor General NAB Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi challenged over the defense queries saying that Naek was trying to pressurize the witness. A cross-talk was seen among the defense lawyer and NAB prosecutor on the hearing.

The witness further told that he had received a letter on February 12, 2019, and then appeared before the NAB investigation officer on the same day.

The defense lawyer said that the witness did not show the letter to the court in which he was directed to appear before the NAB information officer on the same date.

Also Read: Nawaz Sharif calls out NAB for arresting Shehbaz Sharif instead PM’s aide Asim Bajwa

The witness said he had not attested the nomination papers of Asif Zardari but he had verified his assets but the lawyer argued his stamp was not there on the documents.

The second prosecution witness Zubair Sidiqui, during cross-examination told the court that he had been working in the cabinet division as a confidential officer.

He said he had appeared three times related to the reference. He produced the documents’ copies related to the vehicles in question.

Later, the court summoned the witness to the next hearing with original documents.The hearing was adjourned till October 13.

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