Nawaz Sharif was employee of UAE-based firm, says counsel

Islamabad :Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has admitted before the Supreme Court that he had worked for a UAE-based company till 2013 and also had a work permit (Iqama) for it at the time.

In a written reply submitted in the apex court through his counsels Khawaja Haris, Amjad Pervaiz and Saad Hashmi, Sharif rejected the allegation that he had concealed his employment as claimed by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that probed the ruling family’s offshore assets.

“The Iqama and Respondent No 1 (Prime minister)’s employment with Capital FZE is reflected in the copies of his passport annexed with the nomination forms submitted for the General Elections 2013,” reads the reply submitted on Saturday – just a day after the top court reserved its judgment in the Panamagate case, Dawn reported.

On Friday, Khawaja Haris requested a three-judge bench of the top court to allow them to submit a written response to the JIT findings.

Earlier, instead of responding to the JIT’s damning report with regard to his and his family’s alleged graft, Sharif had raised legal objections to the JIT report and its members. However, in his fresh reply, the Prime Minister told the apex court that his son, Hassan Nawaz, was “owner, director & secretary and the authorised signatory” of Capital FZE.

“Respondent No 1 was neither a shareholder in, nor a director or a secretary of Capital FZE. Nor was he ever an authorised signatory of the company,” it adds.

Giving an explanation regarding his designation as Capital FZE’s “Chairman of the Board”, the Prime Minister told the bench that this was only a ceremonial office acquired in 2007 when he was in exile, and had nothing to do with the running of the company or supervising its affairs.

The reply further says this ceremonial status of Sharif came to an end with the dissolution of Capital FZE – a process which began in July 2013 and ended in July 2014.

The Prime Minister also contended that matters relating to Hudabiya Paper Mills Limited (HPML) were closed.

Explaining the reasons for increase in his wealth from Pakistani Rs 8.33 million to Rs 68.027 million in 1992-93, he said in 1992 the Ittefaq Group was divided amongst seven families, including that of Mian Sharif, the Prime Minister’s father.

After this division, Sharif claimed, he not only received his shares in the companies, which was set up by his father but also shares of his daughter, Asma Dar, and son, Hassan, as both children were minors at the time.

Sharif also denied that he had ever been the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chaudhry Sugar Mills Limited (CSML). However, Sharif admitted, he remained a shareholder in CSML till June 2016.

“It is for this reason that the ‘business name’ is stated to be CSML. This does not, in any way, infer that the Respondent No 1 was the CEO of CSML.

Sharif also requested the SC to dismiss all the petitions seeking his disqualification.