UK fraud office seizes jewels, Rolex watches linked to British-Pakistani fugitive

In this pictures taken on April 22, 2019, a Pakistani jeweller arranges jewellery in a window at his shop in Rawalpindi. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 24 September 2020

UK fraud office seizes jewels, Rolex watches linked to British-Pakistani fugitive

  • A warrant remains out for Nisar Afzal’s arrest after he fled Britain for Pakistan in the mid-2000s
  • He was implicated in a fraud against mortgage lenders, for which his brother was convicted and jailed in 2011 for 13 years

LONDON: A most wanted fugitive whose brother was convicted of a role in a 50 million pound ($64 million) British mortgage scam has had opulent necklaces, gold, silver and diamond-encrusted Rolex watches seized from a safe deposit box.
The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Wednesday it had confiscated 500,000 pounds ($638,500) worth of jewellery, including a gold ring emblazoned with the name “Nisar”, from the safe deposit box of the former partner of British Pakistani fraudster Nisar Afzal.
The SFO said it used a listed asset order, a new tool in its armoury, to seize and forfeit listed assets linked to Afzal, which it believes to be the proceeds of crime.
His former partner had consented to the order, the SFO said.
“This case reinforces our determination to use every tool available to us to prevent those who would bribe, cheat and steal from resting easily on their illicit gains,” said Liz Baler, head of the SFO’s proceeds of crime and international assistance division.
The latest move on Afzal’s assets comes after the SFO last year seized 1.52 million pounds from the sale of two properties in Birmingham, central England, bought by Afzal.
A warrant remains out for his arrest after he fled Britain for Pakistan in the mid-2000s. The SFO alleges he was implicated in a fraud against mortgage lenders, for which his brother, Saghir Afzal, was convicted and jailed in 2011 for 13 years.
Saghir Afzal was sentenced to an additional 10 years for failing to pay a near 30-million-pound confiscation order within six months.
 


Women hopeful as Pakistan parliamentary committee approves bill granting fathers paternal leave

Updated 7 min 25 sec ago

Women hopeful as Pakistan parliamentary committee approves bill granting fathers paternal leave

  • Parental leave bill was passed by Senate in January and will be voted by lawmakers in the coming weeks
  • The regulation will apply to all institutions in Islamabad if passed and pave the way for its nationwide implementation 

ISLAMABAD: Women lawmakers and activists said this week they welcomed approval by a National Assembly committee of a bill which would allow fathers to take one month of paid time off on the birth of a child.
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice this week approved the parental leave bill which was passed by the upper house of parliament in January. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the law in the coming weeks.
About 90 out of 187 countries around the world now offer statutory paid paternity leave, usually for a few days or weeks.
“Extremely happy and immensely proud that this important bill moved by me in 2018 has finally been passed by the NA standing committee on Law and Justice after their passage from the Senate,” Senator Quratulain Marri from the opposition Pakistan People’s Party, who initiated the motion in the upper house, told Arab News on Thursday.
In accordance with the bill, she said, at the time of the birth of the first three children, “the mother will get six months, four months and three months leave respectively and the father will get 30 days each time.”
If passed, she said, the regulation would apply to all government and non-government institutions in Islamabad, and pave the way for it to be implemented nationwide.
“I am hoping that the provinces will replicate the same once it is passed from the National Assembly in the coming weeks,” Marri said. “This might not seem like a very big step at this point of time but I think it’s important to change the mindset and introduce the concept of paternity leave and father’s bonding with the child and will prove to be a very important step.”
The NA committee’s chairman, Riaz Fatyana, said the bill would allow fathers to look after their wives after childbirth.
“This will be a good opportunity for male parent, father, who can look after his newborn child and wife,” he told Arab News.

A parliamentarian from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, Naureen Ibrahim, said if the regulation were passed, it would help men learn to share childcaring responsibilities with women.
“It will be beneficial especially for working women,” she said. “They will get longer leave and also the father will learn about sharing the responsibility of parenting. Fathers will also take care of the child and will realize the difficulties which are faced by wives.”
Women’s rights activist Farzana Bari said the new law would help change the mindset of childcare being an exclusively female responsibility.
“There has been a changing concept of masculinity in Pakistan in recent time,” she said. “Many young educated males have started sharing the responsibility of childcare and domestic work. It [new bill] will be very helpful for them.”