ISLAMABAD – Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday claimed that the confessional statement of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar regarding money laundering was obtained under pressure and that he himself was a witness of the torture faced by Dar.
In an interview with leading television channel, the minister revealed what he and Dar were subjected to under Musharraf administration.
‘Being a political worker I don’t think that it would be decent for me to describe my ordeal and what I faced when I was imprisoned, particularly after Musharraf’s coup in 1999. But I want to mention that Dar was held at his house till Feb, 2000, and was interrogated multiple times during this period,” Asif said.
“On February 11, 2000, we were shifted to Chanba House and later transported to Attock Fort,” he added.
Asif claimed that during the course of interrogations and detentions, scores of Ittefaq Foundry employees were also kept along with them in detention centres, who were also tortured.
“When they were tortured to reveal information about the businesses of Ittefaq Foundry, they put all the blame on Ishaq Dar. As a result, the investigators used to torture Dar more,” reiterated Asif.
Asif maintained that in February 2000 he met Dar and was shocked to see him as he had lost more than 30 pounds of weight.
The minister expressed that Dar was a professional, not a political worker, so it was not a big deal to force him for favorable statement.
The legislator lauded the finance minister for braving immense pressure with steadfastness for 23 months.
“No one was able to bear the pressure Dar was facing,” Asif asserted.
The blunt Asif also recalled the days of his ordeal and claimed that he was imprisoned in a 4 by 6 feet cell, in solitary confinement.
“A person always used to point a gun at us, even when we went to do ablution or for a walk. Dar was among those who were subjected to this extreme psychological torture,” he said.
It is relevant to mention that Ishaq Dar had submitted a confessional statement regarding money laundering before the magistrate on April 25, 2000.
Allegations against Dar claim he had confessed to money laundering of $14.86 million by opening two bank accounts under the names of Sikandar Masood Qazi and Talat Masood Qazi for Nawaz Sharif’s brother.
The same confessional statement was submitted by NAB before the five member larger bench currently scrutinizing Sharif family’s money trail in the landmark Panama case hearing.
The apex court also showed concerns as to why NAB failed to file an appeal regarding the judgement of Lahore High Court which let Dar walk free regarding his confessional statement.