ISLAMABAD, July 11 (APP): Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar on Tuesday said the inconclusive report of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was full of gaps, weaknesses and faults.
Speaking at a press conference flanked by Railways Minister Saad Rafique, he said, “I cannot understand why the JIT failed to reconcile the financial statements. Either it has no capacity or it was malafide.”
He said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif did not own any
offshore company and the professionals in the legal team of Sharif
family were studying every aspect of the JIT report.
“There were a lot of weaknesses and unsigned documents generated by the JIT. There are many papers in the report which cannot even be read. Many papers in the report are unbelievable.”
He said the JIT itself wrote to the Supreme Court to decide whether the papers collected by it had any evidentiary value or not.
“We should move patiently as the JIT report is inconclusive.”
He said due process demanded that defendants in the Panama Papers case should be confronted with evidence.
“According to our professional team, nothing is directly reflected on the prime minister.”
Ishaq Dar explained in detail his wealth and income tax returns during the years 1981 to 2002 and onwards.
He said it was wrong to say that he did not file tax returns from 1981 to 2002 and subsequent years.
During the regime of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) took away his tax record in 2002, he added.
He said when he came to know about the missing tax returns from
the JIT, he sent the record available with Federal Board of Revenue
to JIT but this fact was not mentioned in the report.
The missing record in custody of NAB was also recovered and
delivered to the JIT, he said.
The minister said the JIT did not ask him about many issues, but it simply levelled allegations against him in the report.
Ishaq Dar said after the Musharraf’s coup, he had got job offers from the Asian Development Bank, Dubai and the United Kingdom. He said he accepted the job of a financial adviser in Dubai and resigned in 2008 to join the federal cabinet in Pakistan.
He said on his return to the homeland, he ahd decided that he and his sons would not do business in the country while he was in politics.
He said he made investments in Pakistan’s treasury bonds and earned profit, and declared everything.
Talking about the charity given by him, he said he was running two charities – Hajveri Trust and Hajveri Foundation.
In the year 2004-05, he said, he donated Rs 80 million to the Hajvery Trust which looked after 92 orphaned children.
“These children are getting education. One of them has done chartered accountancy and many others are doing A levels and other courses.”
Ishaq Dar said he set up the Hajvery Foundation for medical assistance of the needy people, relief during disasters and marriages of children from poor families.
During the 2009 and 2010 floods, he donated Rs 20 million for flood victims, he informed.
He said the audited accounts of Hajveri Foundation and Hajveri Trust were available for anybody to check.
Dar said he donated Rs 50 million for a kidney hospital in Swat while his salary as Senator and minister went to the Hajveri Foundation.
He said all his assets from a pin to the Mercedes car were part of the record, which could be accounted for.
He offered the Supreme Court to get conducted audit of his assets
from any internationally renowned audit firm at his expense.
He rejected the JIT’s allegations that his assets were beyond his known sources of income as every penny owned by him could be reconciled.
Talking about the Hudaibiya Papers Mill case, he said 13 judges on different occasions had quashed the case. It was first quashed in 1996 and then in 2002, he added.
He clarified that no public money was used for Hudaibiya Papers Mills. The Islamabad High Court in its verdict had declared that the papers presented in the case had no evidentiary value, he added.
The minister pointed out that Imran Khan was repeatedly running away from legal proceedings in the Supreme Court and other courts.
He said they were answerable to the people of Pakistan for the performance of their government.
Ishaq Dar asked the opposition to stop the unending cycle of levelling allegations and let Pakistan develop.
The economy of Pakistan was continuously growing after it was pulled away from the verge of default in 2013, he said, adding that Pakistan would have the highest annual growth rate of six percent in the next decade.
“Pakistan will join the countries of G20 by the year 2030.”
Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique reiterated that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not own any offshore company and it would be established in the court with evidence.
“The Panama issue is an engineered drama. It had been directed from abroad and performed by actors within the country,” he said addressing a news conference.
“The joint investigation team was a one way traffic. It is biased and politically motivated and we shall contest it with all evidence and arguments in the Supreme Court,” he added.
He explained that usually investigation was done through questions and the JIT was assigned to reveal the truth, but it acted with partiality.
“It is strange that the JIT did that much work. It could have not done that much, even if all of its members could have worked round the clock during its tenure. It seems that it was not the JIT alone performing this job rather the work was started, may be a year or more before its constitution.”
Saad Rafique said, “The JIT tried to make a mountain out of mole. Its report is a fairy-tale and this narrative will change when we will contest it in the Supreme Court.”
Taking on political rivals, the minister said it was strange that Asif Ali Zardari talked of corruption, but his own tales of corruption were known to everyone. “At least PPPP should think many times before charging others of corruption.”
As far as Imran Khan was concerned, he said, he embodied every
immorality but clamoured for morality. “You are accused of receiving
foreign funds and abusing national institutions.”
“We are God fearing people. Our opponents are unnecessarily
trumpeting the JIT’s findings. It is a fairy-tale. Please recall your past before blemishing us,” he added.
Saad Rafique said he had been delivering speeches since childhood and if he would not do so how could he politick. “My name for speeches was mentioned in the Supreme Court by the PTI lawyer and if I am going to be summoned by the court, let Aitzaz Ahsan, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Imran Khan be also summoned, who are acting as undeclared spokespersons of the court.”
The minister said he never shook hand with a dictator but always respected the courts and was in Mianwali jail during the movement for restoration of judiciary. “When opponents use court remarks against us without any reason, we also have to respond them.”
He requested the apex court to also analyze statements of Aitzaz Ahsan, Imran Khan and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. “We desire a level playing field because we respect courts and if we shall not do so, the country cannot move forward.”
Answering a question, he said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was penalized for his nation building efforts whether it was the 1999 nuclear blasts, or the CPEC, or motorways. “But we are ready for our defence within the courts as well as before the Pakistani nation.”
To a query about accountability, he said there were accountability institutions in the country that could take effective action.
When asked about conspiracy, he told the questioner, “I am not pointing towards those about whom you are thinking.”
Adviser to Prime Minister Barrister Zafarullah said the JIT failed to include statements made by persons in their defence during the probe.
He said many of the papers filed by the JIT were not based on facts. It seemed that many of questions were fed to the JIT by someone, he added.
The JIT, he said, expanded its probe of the Sharif family’s affairs to the year 1962 and went beyond its scope given by the Supreme Court.