The developed western countries on the one hand penalize Pakistan by grey-listing for its failure to check money laundering and terror financing but on the other hand facilitate its political elite in money laundering with buying valuable properties like Avenfield Apartments with stolen money. Reacting to the Accountability Court verdict in corruption charges against Nawaz Sharif related to four properties, the UK Chapter of Transparency International (TI) has asked the British government to investigate those assets and no longer provide safe heaven to the former Prime Minster and his family.
A press release of TI says, “If a UK investigation concludes that the properties have been bought with corrupt money, then authorities should move to seize the assets. The corruption watchdog calls on UK law enforcement to investigate any further property owned by Sharif family in Briton.”Head of Advocacy at TI UK Rachel Davies Teka said: we are calling on the UK authorities to investigate the London based assets identified in this conviction and ensure that Sharif and his family are no longer able to enjoy luxury homes that are found to have been bought with proceeds of corruption. Furthermore, we believe the UK must look into other potentially criminal UK based assets owned by Sharif family.
The UK Criminal Finances Act 2017 targets corruption, money laundering and tax evasion. It aims to recoup more criminal assets and is a part of governments’ strategic approach to reducing financial crimes. The Act had come into effect on September 30, 2017. A report that was published in the Daily Mail in June said that British authorities did not extend cooperation to Pakistani Joint Investigation Team probing the legality or otherwise of Avenfield properties owned by Sharif family. Is it not violation of this new legislation enacted for the prevention of money laundering and financial corruption?
The corrupt Pakistan political elite, particularly the leadership of PPP and PML-N, has been treated as blue-eyed guys by the United States and UK and have engineered the imposition of this corrupt lot on the poor people of Pakistan in the garb of promoting democracy. It was a widely believed theory in Pakistan that a former British Foreign Secretary, certain US law makers and the then female National Security Advisor were quite active in brokering the National Reconciliation Ordinance for Benazir Bhutto with President Musharraf government, ignoring the corruption case like Surrey Palace in the UK and SGS Kotecna proceedings in a law court in Switzerland.