Nawaz Sharif accused of diverting funds to malign rivals

Nawaz Sharif has been accused of having distributed millions of rupees of IB funds among journalists to institute cases against rival politicians.

Islamabad: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif has been accused of having distributed millions of rupees of Intelligence Bureau (IB) funds among journalists to institute cases against rival politicians, the Supreme Court was told.
An English daily`s reporter, Asad Kharral, made this allegation in a report submitted in the Supreme Court regarding the misuse of public money, reports the Daily Times.
The court was hearing the case regarding the alleged misuse of Rs 270 million IB fund by the incumbent Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in 2008-09. Kharral told the court that the IB had provided Rs 3 million to journalist Nazir Naji who at the time was a columnist with an Urdu newspaper and also a government official in the capacity of Pakistan Academy of Letters chairman. Kharral said the IB was also involved in siphoning off millions of rupees in 1998-99 during Sharif`s regime.

He contended that millions of rupees had been spent to institute cases against rival politicians Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, both inside and outside the country. The report said, "The secret funds which the IB got under different supplementary grants were supposed to be utilised for the purchase of journalists and to make comprehensive cases against the PPP`s leadership."

The objective, the report claimed, was to utilise the cash for these purposes under the umbrella of IB``s secret fund to avoid audit. This huge amount had been distributed to different persons on the special directions of the then prime minister, Sharif, through his two close aides, the then Ehtisab Cell chairman Saifur Rehman and his principal secretary, Saeed Mehdi.

The report also stated that IB also transferred about Rs 100 million abroad though illegal channels such as Hawala after changing Pakistani currency into foreign currency. This amount received by the IB through supplementary grants for this specific purpose on the direction of Sharif, whose close aide conveyed the message to the then IB chief to transfer these amounts abroad to some individuals, front men, including lawyers who prosecuted the cases against Benazir and Zardari. Millions of rupees of IB secret funds were also used for accommodation and transportation of dignitaries and their relatives.