Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday called himself a “majnoo” as he testified in a special court hearing the PKR 16 billion money laundering case against him that he had refused to take any salary when he was the chief minister of Punjab province, PTI reported. “I have not taken anything from the government in 12.5 years, and in this case, I am accused of laundering Rs 2.5 million,” the news agency quoted the Prime Minister as saying with Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan’s permission.
“God has made me the Prime Minister of this country. I am a majnoo (fool) and I did not take my legal right, my salary and benefits,” he said.
Prime Minister Shehbaz during the hearing recalled that the secretary had sent a note to him for sugar exports during his tenure as the Punjab Chief Minister when he had set an export limit and rejected the notes.
This comes as the Prime Minister and his sons Hamza and Suleman were booked by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) earlier in November 2020 under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Hamza is presently the Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, while Suleman is absconding and residing in the United Kingdom.
The court extended the pre-arrest bail of Prime Minister Shehbaz and his son Hamza till June 4.
The FIA, which examined the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions, has in its investigation said that it has detected 28 benami accounts, allegedly of the Shehbaz family, through which an amount of 14 billion Pakistani Rupees (USD 75 million) was laundered from 2008 to 2018.
The amount, as per the charges, was kept in hidden accounts and given to Shehbaz in his personal capacity.
Shehbaz first became the Chief Minister of Punjab province earlier in 1997 when his brother Nawaz Sharif was the country’s Prime Minister.
Shehbaz along with the family spent eight years in exile in Saudi Arabia following General Pervez Musharraf’s coup in 1999 toppling the Nawaz Sharif government.
They returned to Pakistan in 2007.
Shehbaz returned as the Punjab Chief Minister for the second term in 2008 and assumed the same position for the third time in 2013.
Prime Minister Shehbaz’s counsel, advocate Amjad Pervaiz, told the court that the laundering case was politically motivated and based on mala fide intentions by the former regime headed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan.
The cricketer-turned politician has been targeting Shehbaz on his money laundering charges since he was voted out of power last month.
69-year-old Khan has labelled his successor as an extremely corrupt man and vowed to continue his struggle to send what he terms the “imported government” home.
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