Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry claims decision taken after legal team briefed P.M. Khan on cases that implicated Shahbaz Sharif
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government on Monday decided to launch a fresh probe into the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced, suggesting it will reveal a “major source of corruption” by the Sharif family.
“Hudaibiya case is the most important source of corruption of the Sharif family. Shahbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif are the main suspects in this case,” he said in a posting on Twitter written in Urdu. He alleged, without any proof, that the method adopted in laundering money out of the country through the Hudaibiya Paper Mills had been later used in various other ongoing cases, and it was “important” to ensure this case reached its conclusion.
According to Chaudhry, the federal government’s legal team had briefed Prime Minister Imran Khan on the cases against Shahbaz Sharif following the Lahore High Court granting him special “one-time” permission last week to travel to the U.K. for medical treatment. Sharif’s exit was blocked by the government after it refused to remove his name from a blacklist that is usually restricted to terrorists and gangsters.
“The government has decided that the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case needs to be re-investigated,” stressed Chaudhry in his statement. Separately, he confirmed that the government had decided to task the Federal Investigation Agency with the new probe, adding that once the case was taken up, the institution would have to start investigations within 14 days.
Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb slammed the decision to reopen the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, claiming it was an admission by Prime Minister Imran Khan that the cases currently pending against PMLN President Shahbaz Sharif were “fake.”
Reiterating the PMLN’s stance of the Ashiana, clean water, metro, and assets beyond means cases being utilized as a form of political revenge, she stressed that the Supreme Court had already dismissed the Hudaibiya reference. She reminded the government that the Lahore High Court had initially quashed the reference, with the Superme Court upholding the judgment.
The Hudaibiya Paper Mills case alleges that the Sharif family used the company to launder money outside the country in the 1990s. It was initially taken up by the government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf over the “confessional statement” of former finance minister Ishaq Dar, in which he had accepted his role in money-laundering.
That reference was struck down by the LHC in 2014 over a petition contending that Dar’s confession had been secured through coercion.