Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Did Khawaja Asif transfer Rs120 million to Kashmala Tariq’s account?

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According to local media reports, during an ongoing investigation into assets beyond means case against PML-N leader Khawaja Asif, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has obtained evidence of payments made to former lawmaker Kashmala Tariq.

It is pertinent to mention here that Kashmala Tariq was appointed as Federal Ombudsperson for Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplace in February 2018.

Sources claim that the former foreign minister, who is under the NAB custody on a 14-day physical remand, transferred Rs120 million into the bank account of Kashmala Tariq. The amount was transferred to Tariq’s bank account two times from the frontman of Khawaja Asif, sources said.

The frontman of PML-N leader transferred Rs70 million into the bank account of Pakistan Muslim League (Q) leader in January 2015 and Kashmala Tariq withdrew Rs50 million in May 2015 through five transactions.

Similarly, Rs 50 million were transferred into bank account of a former parliamentarian through an online payment system and she withdrew Rs30 million in March, Rs40 million in August 2016.

Sources further disclosed that Kashmala Tariq transferred a huge amount of money into an account of Punjab Enterprises which is registered in the name of Khawaja Asif’s frontman Javed Waraich.

Khawaja Muhammad Asif had been arrested on December 29 by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials for allegedly having inordinate wealth compared to the sources of income.

Notably, on the last Tuesday, NAB reportedly unearthed 48 undeclared (benami) bank accounts of Khawaja Asif. The NAB Lahore in a report said that 48 bank accounts were opened in the name of PML-N leader Khawaja Asif, his family and ostensible owners (benamidars).

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According to NAB sources, Rs220 million were transferred to the bank accounts of Khawaja Asif, his family, and ostensible owners (benamidars). Khawaja Asif, his wife and son also possess assets worth over Rs810 million.

Why NAB arrested Khawaja Asif?

Khawaja Asif is known for his efforts to cool down both Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif and urge them to hold talks with the establishment. Therefore, analysts are mulling over the reasons behind his arrest by the NAB.

Recently, Khawaja asked the judiciary to help politicians initiate a national dialogue to let democracy flourish in the country.

Khawaja Asif was speaking to Asma Shirazi, anchorperson AAJ News, when he suggested the judiciary to play a role in order to end the ongoing anti-government protests under the flag of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

However, according to the statement, Asif was elected as senator in 1991, prior to which he had total assets of Rs5.1 million. By 2018, this figure had ballooned to Rs221 million, which is not justifiable with his known sources of income, said NAB Lahore.

Besides, the statement added, Asif was running a benami company in the name of his employee, Tariq Mir. A sum of Rs400 million was deposited in the bank account of the company, titled ‘Tariq Mir and Company’, but there was no information about the sources of income, said NAB Lahore.

Reacting to the development, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif in a tweet condemned the arrest, terming it a part of “the nexus of the selectors and the selected”.

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In November, NAB had sought records from him regarding sources and local amount of funds invested in the project by him, his family members (wife and son) and other partners/close relatives.

NAB says the former foreign minister had in collusion with the management of the society illegally occupied various pieces of land owned by individuals who never sold their land to the society.

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