Dubai job report puts Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in a spot
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaks during a joint news conference
Dubai - The JIT has revealed that Nawaz did not disclose this information before running for the highest public office in 2013.
By Asma Ali Zain
Published: Thu 20 Jul 2017, 9:59 PM
A Khaleej Times' report on Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's employment status in Dubai and verification of the related documents as being 100 per cent legal have created a stir among the Pakistani public, media and political parties.
On Wednesday, KT broke an exclusive story quoting a Dubai-based law firm that submitted a legal opinion on Sharif's employment in Dubai Capital FZE in Jebel Ali Free Zone until 2014 to Pakistan's Supreme Court which is currently hearing a slew of alleged corruption cases against the prime minister.
The firm, Khalifa bin Huwaidan, which was consulted by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that has submitted a 254-page report to the court on the Sharif family's wealth, verified that the employment documents that imply Sharif was employed by Capital FZE in Dubai until 2014 are 100 per cent legal.
All major Pakistani political parties shared the news on their social media sites while news anchors of major Pakistani channels, such as ARY, Dunya TV, AAJ and several others, quoted the story in their prime time broadcasts.
Rauf Klasra, author and columnist who appears on the prime time show Muqabil on Channel 92, discussed the KT story saying: "Very damaging and could change the case for Nawaz Sharif."
Speaking to Khaleej Times on Wednesday on how the story would impact the current political scenario, Klasra said: "The story has put further dent in the PM case in SC as so far doubts were being created about his job status or if payment was made against his job or not."
"It was a timely and credible story."
"It was a sort of bombshell confirming facts about PM's job in Dubai. It was a new thing for Pakistanis that a Dubai law firm had submitted its legal opinion in SC. No one knew it," he said.
"This story has put all rumours to rest after proper quotes and confirmation from the law firm quoting labour laws and 100 per cent legal status of job contract," he added.
He said that the government or the prime minister's office has not commented on the story. "The moment I shared this story on my programme, other channels who monitor our show started breaking the news even in their 9:00pm news bulletins," he added.
Klasra also said that the story has put an end to the ongoing debate in Pakistan on whether Sharif withdrew a salary or not since all employees in the UAE were covered under the Wage Protection System (WPS) which makes it compulsory for an employer to pay an employee. "So this chapter has been closed by the KT story," he said.
Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf's All-Pakistan Muslim League party tweeted: "Confirmation by Khaleej Times. Nawaz Sharif is a source of shame for Pakistan!"
Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaaf shared the KT story on its social media, saying, "Final nail in the coffin of Nawaz's rule as Dubai-based firm verifies that Nawaz Sharif was an employee of a UAE company till 2014 which was never declared by him."
Pakistan's leading newspaper Dawn quoted the KT story and added: "PM's counsel Khawaja Harris Ahmed had conceded before the SC on Tuesday that Hassan Nawaz - the son of the prime minister - was the owner of Capital FZE. He claimed that though the prime minister was the designated chairman of the board, he did not draw any salary."
However, as per the UAE labour law, all employees have to receive a salary through a bank account under the UAE's Wage Protection System (WPS) failing which the firm can be blacklisted and shut down.
Also as per the UAE law, if no record of a salary transfer to the bank is found, the employer is held liable, not the employee, Khalifa bin Huwaidan, lawyer and legal advisor at the firm, had told Khaleej Times earlier.
"Normally businessmen establish companies in Dubai if they want to maintain a visa status in the company but in this case (Nawaz Sharif) was an employee in a Jafza-based firm," he said.
Khalifa based the conclusion on the copy of the labour contract Nawaz had with Capital FZE and said: "The contract is 100 per cent legal." However, his employment status was terminated in 2014 after the company was dissolved. This was a year after he became the prime minister of Pakistan for the third time. Also as per the UAE law, if no record of a salary transfer to the bank is found, the employer is held liable, not the employee. However, it is not clear who owned Capital FZE before it was dissolved.
The JIT has revealed that Nawaz did not disclose this information before running for the highest public office in 2013 which is against the Constitution of Pakistan. The JIT findings are based on its correspondence with Jafza.
The SC is currently hearing a case against the Sharifs who are being probed after the Panama Papers revealed in 2016, that three of his children owned offshore companies and assets which are not shown on his family's wealth statement. The assets in question also include four expensive flats in Park Lane, London.