Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar at a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday stated that the government encourages agreements in civil cases and does not wish to keep people in jail.
He made the remarks while commenting on a recent £190 million settlement between United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) and the family of property tycoon Malik Riaz.
Speaking alongside federal minister Murad Saeed, Akbar maintained that this was the first time in Pakistan’s history that money had been repatriated from another country through the legal process.
“It is important to note that the settlement was reached in a civil case not a criminal case,” he clarified.
Addressing Malik Riaz’s claims that the money had been paid to the Supreme Court, he said that the money will be taken from the SC and handed over to the state.
He also maintained that the government is thankful to the UK government and the NCA for expediting the investigation and returning the money to Pakistan.
However, because the case involved the government of another country, he was bound to confidentiality and could not comment on the details. “I am bound by a deed of confidentiality.”
Akbar also divulged into the alleged corruption by Shehbaz Sharif and his family. “The assets of the Sharif family have increased exponentially over the span of ten years,” he said.
He explained that the corruption was carried out during Shehbaz’s tenure as Punjab chief minister. Aided by charts, he explained that their entire fortune has been built by funnelling money from kickbacks into their personal accounts, before injecting them into their own companies to mimic sales.
“During this period, Shehbaz’ assets rose by 70 per cent while his son Salman’s rose by 8,000pc,” he said.
However, despite their repeated claims of innocence, the Sharifs have not been able to provide a single shred of evidence which proves contrary, he added.
Mentioning the article published in the The Mail that alleged that Shehbaz had embezzled funds provided by UK’s Department for International Development, he said that the former chief minister was surprisingly mum on the issue despite his initial response.
“So many facts have been revealed in recent days. Setting his claims about taking legal action against The Mail aside, he has not given a specific answer to any of the allegations levelled against him,” he said.
This is a question about the country and the people’s respect, he said.