Khawaja Asif remanded in NAB custody for 14 days by Pak court

Anushka Mansharamani

Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Former Foreign Minister of Pakistan and opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was remanded in custody in the anti-graft body for 14 days assets beyond means case.

On 29th December he was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Islamabad for possession of assets beyond his known income.

The plea by the NAB was accepted by the Accountability Court Lahore and the court granted a 14-day remand.

The deposed Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif in his tweet stated that the arrest was a result of the nexus between the army, ISI chiefs Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Gen Faiz Hameed and Prime Minister, Imran Khan.

He also stated that “Such belittle acts reflect the government’s state of panic, but it is moving even closer to its end through such actions.”

Stalwart Khawaja Muhammad Asif told the judge that he was a member of the National Assembly and the NAB initiated a case of PKR 210 million against him.

The judge replied to this and stated, “who knows NAB recovers another Rs 210m during investigation.”

The court instructed the NAB to allow the family members to meet him.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, on the other hand, alleged that Asif was arrested not because of the asset possession but instead because he declined to go against Nawaz Sharif.

Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Maryam stated under oath that Khawaja Asif was asked to disassociate himself from Nawaz Sharif’s narrative by them.

She further added that if he would agree, the cases against him would close in 15-20 days.

As per the records of the NAB, the total worth of Khawaja Asif’s assets before the public offices in 1991 was Rs. 5.1 million which then increased to Rs. 221 million in 2018 after holding different posts over the year.

The NAB report further stated that “Asif claimed to have received Rs 130 million from a UAE firm M/s IMECO, but during the course of the investigation he failed to present any solid evidence of receiving this amount as a salary. This clearly shows that the accused tried to prove his income through fake sources.”

NAB further stated that Khawaja Asif was running a firm named “Tariq Mir & Company.”

According to the sources the company was registered in his employee’s name and Rs. 400 million was deposited in the firm’s account without the disclosure of the source of the amount.

Khawaja Asif is arrested when 11 opposition parties are organising rallies across the country thereby demanding the Prime Minister’s ouster.

He is one of the many others accused in cases of corruption from the PML-N.

Party president Shehbaz Sharif, senior members Hamza Shehbaz, Rana Sanaullah, Javed Latif, Ahsan Iqabl, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Saad Rafique are the others against whom corruption cases are filed.