PAC calls off meeting on Broadsheet issue

By: News Desk      Published: 11:53 AM, 19 Jan, 2021
PAC calls off meeting on Broadsheet issue

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has also appeared to have backed out from its earlier stance of discussing the Broadsheet issue as its Tuesday’s meeting in this regard was cancelled, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

PAC Chairman Rana Tanveer had summoned National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal for today after taking notice of the Broadsheet issue.

Taking notice of the agreement between the NAB and Broadsheet, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had summoned the NAB chairman and the Auditor General (AG). The purpose of summoning NAB Chairman Justice Javed Iqbal was to know as to why and when the Bureau had hired the services of Broadsheet, and why Rs4.5 billion were paid to the British firm.

On January 1, 2021, the Pakistan High Commission had made a payment of $28.706 million (Rs4.59 billion), on behalf of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), to the assets recovery firm, Broadsheet LLC, after losing the long-running litigation at the London High Court – 21 years after hiring the firm to trace alleged foreign assets of dozens of Pakistanis and being unable to find any.

The London High Court’s Financial Division had issued on December 17 a Final Third Party Order for payment to the NAB’s former client Broadsheet by December 30 – drawing curtains on a case that has cost Pakistani taxpayers billions of rupees.

Ironically, Broadsheet was hired by the NAB during Pervez Musharraf’s government in 2003 to trace assets in the UK and the USA of more than 200 Pakistanis, including generals, politicians and businessmen – with Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif as the chief targets.

The firm did not recover a single asset of any target anywhere in the world but its litigation against the NAB started over the broken contract when the latter ended its contract in violation of the terms and conditions.

Asad Umar’s assertion

Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar on Tuesday claimed that it has now been established beyond doubt that Nawaz Sharif had lied to the Parliament, the Supreme Court and the nation over Avenfield Apartments.

In a tweet, he said the Sharif family has owned these apartments from as back as 2000 as revealed by the Broadsheet award details.

Meanwhile, Broadsheet CEO Kaveh Moussavi on Monday asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to sack Mirza Shahzad Akbar, the special assistant to prime minister on accountability and interior.

Speaking to the Pakistani media exclusively at Oxford, Moussavi said the Pakistani man who had a meeting with him was not a general of the Pakistan Army. He said the man who portrayed himself as a general of the Pakistan Army called him from an unknown phone number. He said that he never levelled any allegations against the Pakistan Army and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directly. He said he did not have information even about the man who introduced himself as Anjum Dar.

Probe committee

Also on Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan formed a three-member committee to sort out the Broadsheet issue. The committee would present its recommendations to the prime minister within 48 hours about those who benefitted from the Broadsheet issue and those who were benefactors in this case.