Plea for shifting of foreign assets to Pakistan: LHC orders notices to PM, Shahbaz, Imran, others


LAHORE: Justice Muhammad Khalid Mehmood Khan, of the Lahore High Court LHC, on Tuesday ordered to serve notices on respondent politicians, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, PPP Patron-in-Chief Bilwal Bhutto Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari, in their personal capacities through proclamation on a petition seeking directions for the respondents to bring their foreign assets back to Pakistan.

The judge observed that the petition was of public interest and as such it was appropriate that the respondents be served through proclamation in a local daily with the direction that they will file their replies on or before the next date of hearing. The judge directed the office to issue notices to the respondents in their personal capacities without mentioning their offices.

The judge also observed that the office report shows that respondent No 10 (Riaz Hussain) has been served through his admin officer, respondent No 13 (Hamayun Khan) has refused to accept notice through his legal officer that they have no concern whatsoever with this case, respondent Shahbaz Sharif has been served, respondent No 16 (Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain) refused to accept notice but he has been served through affixation, respondents Nawaz Sharif, Kulsoom Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz have refused to accept notice through their employees, service on respondent Shah Mahmood Qureshi has not been effected because given address does not exist on the ground, respondent Yousaf Raza Gillani has been served through his secretary, respondent Benazir Bhutto has died; therefore her name may be deleted, respondent No 19 (Mustafa Khar),  No 24 Mr and Mrs Aitzaz Ahsan have been served either through affixation or through their secretaries, likewise respondents No 1 to 18 have been served through their clerks or through affixation and as such their service is a weak service, therefore, it is appropriate that the respondents be served through proclamation in newspapers. 

Barrister Javed Iqbal Jafri had filed this petition initially in 1996 against 26 political leaders and later amended it and added more names. He alleged that these politicians had laundered millions of dollars to foreign countries and had caused a huge loss to the national exchequer.

He said that the respondents had not yet submitted their affidavits about money laundering allegations despite repeated court orders. He alleged that due to investment of huge money in other countries by the respondents, Pakistan was facing acute financial crisis and return of their money could give some relief to the people. He submitted that the shifting of Pakistan’s assets to foreign banks increased unemployment, inflation and poverty in the country.

He said that due to corrupt practices and misconduct of most the respondents, Pakistan had become a laughing stock and practically a failed state. He requested the court to summon details of bank accounts and foreign assets of these politicians and direct them to bring the national wealth back to the country.

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