Dar refutes Imran’s allegations

Lahore – Former finance minister Ishaq Dar on Friday rejected PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s allegations, saying that the family has no business relations with the Sharif family.

Talking to a private TV channel, Dar strongly denied PTI allegations calling him Sharifs’ frontman in relation to corruption.

While responding to a question regarding properties owned by his son, Dar said that his son’s business is fully documented and audited by one of the world’s largest audit firms. “The 52 villas were not bought, they were booked, there is a difference. Only a token payment has to be paid and it is a common practice in the UAE,” said the ex-finance minister.

He also said that Imran Khan always levels baseless allegations on others and has become “a master in doing so”. Dar alleged that Imran Khan used to visit him and his sons’ offices in London and ask for charity for his cancer hospital.

About his tax record, he said that it is a baseless allegation that he did not pay taxes, adding that he filed tax returns and presented the record in court twice, including during the JIT investigation. “I was a non-resident, therefore, I wasn’t liable to pay taxes according to the Pakistani law,” said Dar in reference to the years he spent outside Pakistan.

Dar further said that all his financial record is with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Supreme Court. “Since 2007, there is a decline in my net worth,” he said.

Imran is lying that the funds came from Switzerland, not a single penny came from there, said Dar, adding the PTI chief should substantiate his arguments with evidence.

He said that if anyone provides a piece of alleged evidence against him, his sons will prove him wrong. “I have never up till now allowed my sons to break their silence, but today, I am authorising them to present answers,” he said.

Dar called PTI chief’s allegation that Captain (retd) Safdar and Hussain Nawaz are employees of his son’s company as baseless. “Why would Hussain be my son’s employee, when he is already director of his own company?” said Dar.

When asked about his return to the country, Dar did not give any definite date. He said that his MRI test was conducted on Dec 20, which showed inflammation in vertebrae and his next appointment is in the first week of January.

“I always had neck and back problems and it is well known,” said Dar.

The former finance minister’s son, Ali Dar, joined in the conversation from Dubai and answered questions related to the Dar family’s property in Dubai.

The son was asked regarding the PTI chief’s allegation about the Dar family’s two towers in Dubai worth $200 million. “A tower developer isn’t the owner,” he said, adding that the family business was to only develop the towers.

“The towers Imran is referring to have 400 units each and around 300 to 325 owners,” said Ali and added that the family only owns the top floor of the HDS tower and a couple of units on other floors.

“My equity in the booking of the HDS Tower was five million Dirhams only,” he said while elaborating that he did not lend from the bank and carried out pure cash-flow management to finance the project.

“I started my business in 2004, and when in 2007 we booked the villas, I had already constructed and finished HDTS Towers in 2005. When we booked the villas, we had the funds and we booked them. The first villa was sold within the first two weeks.”

Ali said he is willing to share documentary proof to support his statements.

Ishaq Dar accused the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of intentionally nominating him in “manipulated” cases and “making mountains out of molehills”.

Dar hinted that some forces are out to get him, saying: “This [the reference] has been manipulated and manoeuvred in order to target me. One day the people of Pakistan will know the full truth about [this] charade.”

The PML-N politician pointed to the expansion of the Panama probe’s mandate beyond the four Sharif family-owned Avenfield apartments, saying, “It started spreading from one place to another and whole new issues were created.”

“[I am] saddened at how things have unfolded, how mountains have been made out of molehills and how Pakistan has been damaged over political games.”

Dar, who was declared an absconder in absentia by the NAB court for not returning to Pakistan to stand trial, vehemently defended himself, adding: “I challenge anyone to prove a penny’s worth of irregularity or corruption during the four tenures that I was privileged to serve in various PML-N governments. I am ready to face any punishment if it’s proven that I was ever involved in corruption, favouritism for anyone, nepotism or other undue favours.”

He blamed Pakistan’s political upheaval of 2017 for the frail nature of the economy, noting: “We Pakistanis are sometimes Pakistan’s worst enemies and don’t want stability and progress of the country through infighting and short-sighted policies.”

Dar also urged his political rivals to reconcile their differences with him for the sake of the country. “This country can move forward when all institutions work together and move forward,” he said. “If we pull each other’s legs, then it will be Pakistan that will be harmed. And it’s obvious how Pakistan has been damaged in the last four months.”

Meanwhile, he maintained that he will return to Pakistan to face NAB’s charges but only when his health issues are resolved.

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