Imran Khan makes veiled attack at former Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, says elite transferred country's wealth abroad

Islamabad: Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan said Friday that the Pakistani elite was involved in transferring national wealth abroad through money laundering, in a veiled attack on ousted premier Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and his son-in-law retired captain Mohammad Safdar were sentenced to 11 years, eight years and one year respectively in prison in the Avenfield properties case related to their purchase of four luxury flats in London through corrupt practices.

File image of Imran Khan. AFP

File image of Imran Khan. AFP

Talking to a delegation of columnists here, Prime Minister Khan, without naming anyone, said the recent development of tracing the money stashed abroad to the tune of Rs 700 billion shows as to why the former rulers were seeking work permits.

"It is estimated that about a trillion dollars are transferred to rich countries from poor countries like Pakistan," Khan said.

The government has signed agreements with Switzerland, the UK and the US to have information about the ill-gotten money stashed in these countries by Pakistanis, he said.

Khan said his government inherited a huge deficit of current and fiscal account and was endeavouring to overcome the financial crisis.

The government decided to approach friendly countries to deal with this situation and overcame the financial crunch and balance of payments issue, Khan said, adding that his visit to China was highly successful.

"We need permanent solution to strengthen the economy on sound footing," he said.

The government is focusing on four areas including enhancing exports, promoting investment, boosting remittances and curbing the money laundering, Khan said.

Currently remittances worth $15 to 20 billion are being received through legal channels whereas almost same amount is being channelised through illegal means including Hawala, he said.

The expatriate Pakistanis were being facilitated to remit money through banking channels to enhance national revenues, Khan said.

Talking about massive losses in state-owned entities, he said unfortunately no one ever made any effort to promote true democracy in the country.

Khan said "kleptocracy was promoted wherein the rulers abused their powers for their own vested interests".

Sharif, 68, was disqualified by the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case in July, 2017 and subsequently jailed for 10 years in Avenfield corruption case. His sentence was, however, suspended. The three-time former prime minister and his family have denied any wrongdoing.

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Updated Date: Nov 17, 2018 15:26:26 IST

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