ISLAMABAD: The PTI on Wednesday moved the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against what it has called the “concealment of assets” by the prime minister’s son-in-law, MNA retired Capt Mohammad Safdar.
“It has been revealed through various credible sources that Mr Mohammad Safdar concealed material facts in his nomination papers and deliberately concealed the details of the assets duly owned by his spouse,” stated the application filed by PTI’s Nawabzada Salahuddin Saeed through advocate Faisal Hussain Chaudhry with the ECP.
It said this was tantamount to violating the mandatory provisions of the Representation of People Act and all other laws in force for the time being related to elections.
Mr Saeed lost the 2013 election from NA-21 (Mansehra) to Mr Safdar of the PML-N. Mr Safdar had secured 90,408 votes, followed by Laiq Mohammad Khan of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) with 42,980 votes. Mr Saeed secured 25,491 votes.
Application comes at the heels of Panama Papers revelations about offshore companies owned by PM’s daughter
The application was filed two days after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Safdar’s name appeared in the Panama Papers. The names of over 200,000 offshore companies and international clients associated with Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca were revealed in the Panama Papers leaks last month.
According to data released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Ms Safdar is the sole owner of a shell company, and also serves as a partner alongside her brother Hussain Nawaz at two London-based companies, Nescol and Nielson, which came to light in the first tranche of the Panama Papers.
The shell company registered in her name mentioned the Saroor Palace in Jeddah as its business address, in addition to addresses in Peru and Singapore. The company was reportedly founded in 1994, during Mr Sharif’s second tenure as prime minister.
An investigation by over 100 media groups, one of the largest in history, revealed hidden offshore assets of around 140 political figures, including Mr Sharif’s children.
The prime minister’s children own at least six upmarket properties overlooking Hyde Park in London, according to the papers. The disclosure is poised to take the ongoing controversy surrounding politicians running offshore companies to new heights.
The application filed with the election commission noted that under the Constitution, the ECP’s prime responsibility was to hold fair and transparent elections and ensure the applicability of relevant laws.
Mr Saeed sought attested copies of the nomination papers and annual returns submitted by Mr Safdar to the ECP to date, in order to ascertain the veracity of facts and set the law in motion, if so required.
Under the law, all legislators are required to submit an annual statement of assets and liabilities of their own and their spouses and dependents to the ECP.
In his statement of assets for the 2015 fiscal year, Mr Safdar mentioned a 4800cc BMW car gifted to his spouse by an unidentified individual in the United Arab Emirates, but did not mention any other assets belonging to her within or outside the country.
He showed foreign remittances of Rs2 million from the sale of his personal vehicle in Saudi Arabia, and his sole bank account apparently reflects this amount.
Mr Safdar owns four properties in Islamabad, Mansehra and Rajanpur. He has not mentioned the market value or cost of two properties, including around 100 kanals of agricultural land in Mansehra, and over 215 acres of “barren” land in Rajanpur.