Pak court orders seizure of Nawaz Sharif's assets in Toshakhana graft case

Islamabad, PakistanUpdated: Oct 01, 2020, 09:40 PM IST

File photo of former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Photograph:(Twitter)

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The Toshakhana graft case is about alleged relaxation of rules by Gilani, 68, for the benefit of Zardari, 65, and Sharif to buy vehicles gifted by foreign countries

A Pakistan anti-corruption court on Thursday ordered the seizure of assets of deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif for his failure to appear in the Toshakhana graft case, days after he was declared an absconder in the matter that allegedly caused a heavy loss to the national exchequer.

An anti-corruption court on September 9 indicted former president Asif Ali Zardari and ex-prime minister Yusuf Raza Gillani, while declared Sharif an absconder in the case.

The Islamabad-based accountability court was hearing the case filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which submitted a detailed record of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo's movable and immovable properties.

The accountability Judge Asghar Ali ordered the authorities to freeze Sharif's national and international bank accounts and seize his 206 acres of agricultural land in Lahore and 12.75 acres in Sheikhupura, as well as his house in Murree in Punjab province.

Two tractors and cars that the 70-year-old leader allegedly obtained from the Toshakhana (state gift depository) after paying 15 per cent of the price are also included among assets the court has ordered to seize.

The Toshakhana graft case is about alleged relaxation of rules by Gilani, 68, for the benefit of Zardari, 65, and Sharif to buy vehicles gifted by foreign countries.

Sharif is accused of obtaining luxury cars from the treasury house by paying just 15 per cent of the price of these vehicles.

imilarly, Zardari and Gilani, are also accused of receiving luxury vehicles and gifts from the treasure house.

The court had issued non-bailable arrest warrant against Sharif in the case in June and the next month directed the Foreign Office to execute the arrest warrants through the Pakistan High Commission in London.

Last month, the court declared him a proclaimed offender after he failed to present himself before the court as he is in London for treatment for several health complications.

He went abroad after securing bail for medical treatment in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case and the Al Azizia case.

His Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party in a meeting on Tuesday asked him to stay there until the completion of his treatment.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan asked relevant authorities to take steps to bring back Sharif from London and to ensure that the former premier faces the corruption cases pending against him in various Pakistani courts.

The three-time premier, his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Muhammad Safdar were convicted in the Avenfield properties case on July 6, 2018. Sharif was also sentenced to seven years in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case in December 2018. But Sharif was bailed out in both cases and also allowed to go to London for medical treatment.

In November last year, Sharif was allowed to travel abroad for his treatment, while Maryam had to stay behind ?till further orders?.
In May, a picture of Sharif having tea at a London cafe along with his family went viral on social media, sparking a debate on the seriousness of his health condition.

The Pakistan government came under further criticism when last month Sharif's photos surfaced online, showing him strolling in a street, prompting calls from within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to bring him back.