Pakistan vows action against five suspects after Broadsheet report made public

08:57 PM | 1 Apr, 2021
Pakistan vows action against five suspects after Broadsheet report made public

ISLAMABAD – Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry announced on Thursday that the government will pursue criminal action against five individuals named as suspects in Broadsheet probe commission report.

He was talking to media after the federal cabinet made the report on the Broadsheet scandal was made public.

The minister said the main suspect include Ahmer Bilal Soofi; Hassan Saqib Shaikh, who is currently serving in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR); Ghulam Rasool, who was the then joint secretary of the ministry of law; Abdul Basit, who was the then deputy high commissioner to the UK; Shahid Ali Baig, who was the director audit and accounts for the High Commission in London at that time; and Tariq Fawad Malik, the suspect "who facilitated the whole contract with Broadsheet".

He went on to say former NAB chairman Qamaruz Zaman and other officials will be probed in the light of the report’s recommendation, adding that records related to Swiss accounts and other documents disappeared from offices and no one was aware about it.

He said that former president Asif Zardar and others were acquitted in the Swiss accounts case due to non-availability of the original record.

The minister thanked commission head Justice (retd) Azmat Saeed for discovering the original record, adding that they will pursue the action against Zardari.

Broadsheet Probe’s Findings

The commission highlighted in its report that all institutions except for NAB did not cooperated in the probe.

The report states that the Broadsheet's records were missing from "nearly everywhere", including the Pakistan embassy in London.

The report said that the deal made with the UK firm for asset recovery makes it clear that the government officials at that time did not understand international laws.

It further said that bureaucracy used every possible option to conceal records, adding that investigating the allegations leveled by Broadsheet’s Kaveh Moussavi against some individuals did not come under its jurisdiction.

According to the report, a settlement deal was made with Broadsheet to pay it $2.2 million. It highlighted that the Pakistan officials involved in the deal at that time did not even know about the real Broadsheet firm.

The UK firm was hired by Pakistan during the tenure of former president Pervez Musharraf in 1999 to recover assets from 170 Pakistanis with chief target former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family. However, the deal ended up costing Pakistan more thatn $65 million while no assets of Sharifs were recovered.