PML-N senior leader Khawaja Asif arrested by NAB in Islamabad

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PML-N senior leader and former foreign minister Khawaja Asif has been arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Islamabad, a spokesperson for the bureau confirmed on Tuesday.

“NAB Lahore has arrested Khawaja Muhammad Asif in assets beyond known sources of income case,” the official told DawnNewsTV.

According to the bureau’s spokesperson, the PML-N leader had earlier been summoned for an inquiry but he failed to provide the required evidence.

The spokesperson said Asif held an iqama (work permit) from 2004 to 2008, adding that he claimed to have earned a total of Rs136 million for his services as a consultant legal adviser.

The PML-N leader was directed to submit details of the salary he received and other information. He was also asked to provide the job application he had submitted to a foreign company as well as his iqama agreement.

“Khawaja Asif continuously failed to cooperate during the inquiry,” the spokesperson said, adding that he was arrested with the approval of the NAB chairman.

The official said Asif would be presented before an accountability court on Wednesday to obtain his remand.

In a press statement issued later, NAB Lahore said that the investigation against Asif was being conducted under Section 5 of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and Section 3 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010.

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 Rs 400 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 supremo 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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