Pakistan`s anti-graft body objects to Sharifs` candidature

Last Updated: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 14:59

Islamabad: Pakistan`s anti-corruption watchdog has objected to the candidature of former premier Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif in the upcoming General Election, saying they had defaulted on a bank loan worth Rs 3.48 billion.

The National Accountability Bureau yesterday raised the issue in an official communication sent to the Election Commission.

Three graft cases against the Sharifs and their relatives are currently pending in an anti-corruption court in Rawalpindi, NAB officials told the media.

The Sharif brothers have been accused of defaulting on a loan that was taken for the Hudaibiya Paper Mills.

Nawaz Sharif, the head of the main opposition PML-N, and former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif were also accused of accumulating money and assets beyond their declared means of income by misusing authority.

A case in this regard was filed against them in an anti-corruption court in Attack in March 2000. Several of their relatives, including Nawaz Sharif`s son Hussain Nawaz, Hamza Shahbaz, Shamim Akhtar, Sabiha Abbas, Maryam Safdar and Ishaq Dar, are among the accused in the cases.

A spokesman for the PML-N rejected the allegations against the party`s top leadership, saying the accusations made by the NAB were "misleading".

He alleged that NAB officials were acting at the behest of the previous Pakistan People`s Party-led government to target PML-N leaders.

The Election Commission recently made the NAB part of the set-up for scrutinising the candidates for the May 11 General Election.

Shahbaz Sharif is contesting polls to the Punjab Assembly while Nawaz Sharif is a candidate for polls to the National Assembly. The elder Sharif is widely tipped to become premier if the PML-N wins the polls.

The NAB has set up special election cells to facilitate the scrutiny of candidates.

The Election Commission has also roped in the Federal Bureau of Revenue, State Bank of Pakistan and National Database and Registration Authority in a bid to weed out candidates accused of corruption or wrong-doing.

The Election Commission has said that tax-evaders, people who default on loans and utility bills and beneficiaries of loan write-offs will be barred from contesting the polls, which will mark the first democratic transition in Pakistan`s history.


First Published: Friday, April 5, 2013 - 14:59

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