ISLAMABAD – Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Friday formed a bench to hear the Hudaibiya Paper Mills reference against members of Sharif family.
A three member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, comprising Justice Dost Mohammad and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhail, has been set up following an appeal filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to reopen the case in the backdrop of Panamagate case.
The bench will start hearing on November 13, while Registrar Office has issued a notice to the prosecutor general of the NAB.
On September 20, the anti-graft watchdog submitted an appeal to the apex court seeking reopening of Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against Sharif family.
The plea has been filed against the verdict of the Lahore High Court, which had quashed the case in 2014, following the revelations made by a report of Panama Papers case Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that had also recommended that the case should be reopened.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz have been made respondents in the case.
On July 28, the apex court while announcing the landmark decision regarding Panamagate case had directed the NAB to reopen the case.
In Panamagate verdict, the apex court had disqualified the former premier for concealing his job a UAE-based company, Capital FZE, owned by his son.
A trial of the Sharif family, including Nawaz, his children – Maryam, Hasan and Hussain Nawaz – and son-in-law Captain (rtd) Safdar, is being conducted by the accountability court in three graft references regarding London flats, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and other companies.
Hudaibiya Paper Mills case
The Hudaibiya Paper Mills was allegedly used as a cover up by the Sharif family to launder money outside the country in the 1990s through Ishaq Dar.
Apart from being in the good books of Nawaz Sharif, Dar’s role in investigating the money trail of the first family becomes more central as he spilt the beans regarding money laundering during the second stint of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with respect to the case.
The Hudaibya Paper mills case was discussed extensively in the Supreme Court as well. Ishaq Dar had alleged before a magistrate back in 2000 that the Sharif brothers used the Hudaibya Paper Mills as a cover for money laundering during the late 1990s.
In his confessional statement on April 4, 2000, in connection with the Hudaibya Papers Mills Limited (HPML) case, Dar said that he had good relations with Masood Ahmed Qazi since 1970 and during his stay in London in early 1970s, he was staying with the Qazi family at Ilford, Essex (1970-72).
In his statement submitted before NAB that rocked the political corridors, Dar said, “Masood Ahmad Qazi belonged to a middle-class family and he used to treat me as one of his family members.”
Dar went on to say, “As far as their financial status in the year 1992 is concerned, according to my information there was no significant improvement in the previous status of the middle-class family.”
The finance minister stated that he established a Modaraba company named First Hajveri Modarba Company (FHMC), a Non-Banking Financial Institution (NDFI) in 1990 and the company started its operations next year with a paid up capital of Rs150 million, Dawn news reported.
He said that Nawaz Sharif had been his batchmate at Govt College Lahore during 1964 to 1966, “However, we had no connections at the time.” He came closer to Sharif family in 1990 after he was being recognised at the national level, particularly for his suggestions on national budgets, reads the statement.
According to the document, Dar introduced the Qazi family to Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif in 1990 at a function in Lahore.
“In early 1992, Mian Nawaz Sharif, who was then Prime Minister of Pakistan, contacted me and requested to provide a credit line of approximately Rs100 million to the business concerns of his family, from my Modaraba… subsequently, he sent me photocopies of the passports of Mrs Sikandar Masood Qazi, Nuzhat Gohar, Talat Masood Qazi and Kashif Masood Qazi (family members of Masood Qazi).
“He asked me to open/operate foreign currency accounts in their names in different banks with the foreign currency funds provided by the Sharif family,” it reads.
Following the presentation of details of transitions and other financial matters, Dar said: “They (Sharifs) made all this arrangement as they could not have explainable sources of these funds which ultimately landed in one of their companies.”
On the other hand, Ishaq Dar while clarifying his position in the backdrop of Hudaibiya Paper Mills case expressed that the confessional statement was taken under duress.