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Shahid Khaqan strongly criticised NAB for launching probe against Nawaz Sharif

09 May, 2018

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Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday strongly criticised the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for launching a probe against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, involving alleged money laundering of $4.9 billion to India.

According to NAB, it launched the probe after the World Bank’s migration and remittance book released in September 2016 carried information that foreign exchange reserves of India increased by $4.9 billion after receiving the huge amount sent through money laundering, inflicting losses to Pakistan’s national kitty.

The prime minister while addressing the National Assembly asked the House to constitute a committee which would summon the NAB chairman and investigate the allegations. The premier in his tirade alleged that the institution has overstepped its domain.

The country will not function if the institutions will work in this way, he added, pointing out that the National Assembly still has time to amend the NAB laws.

He asked the House to "summon NAB chairman" to clear his position as "an allegation of very serious nature" was levelled against the former prime minister.

Further pressing the Bureau, Abbasi said that based on the manner in which the former premier is being produced in the accountability court, he doesn't think NAB will be able to provide justice to Nawaz Sharif.

Prerequisites of justice should be met in all matters, the prime minister said, adding, "Not only should justice be done, it must also be seen being done."

"The Bureau should play its due role against corruption and should fulfill the requirements of justice," he added.

Earlier Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan expressed the same sentiments and criticised NAB for launching the money laundering probe against Nawaz Sharif.

Syed Naveed Qamar of PPP said he can understand the prime minister's concern but he partially disagreed with the idea of summoning the NAB chairman and held it tantamount to interference into NAB affairs.

"It will be a new precedent if we interfere into the matters of an institution that we ourselves created," he said, adding that he, however, will consult with his party leadership over the issue of constituting a committee.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's Asad Umar categorically opposed suggestion of constituting a committee on the issue. He said that interfering into the affairs of NAB will be "tantamount to the murder of justice and accountability" in the country.

"The NAB is fulfilling the responsibility that the finance ministry should have on the first day the report came out," he said.
'Flawed' report

Taking notice of a misleading newspaper article based on a ‘flawed’ report of the World Bank, NAB has started verification whether former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was involved in sending $4.9 billion to India.

While the World Bank promptly responded to the NAB move and stated that “the report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals”, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said the estimates showed in the WB report were based on “assumptions” which did not reflect the reality.

Soon after the SBP’s clarification, NAB issued a brief statement and questioned: “If the World Bank report is not correct, why they have not changed the figure of 4.9 billion dollars from Pakistan in its report?”

Talking to Dawn on Tuesday, a spokesman for the SBP said the bank had issued clarification twice in the past — in 2015 and 2016 — rejecting the WB report.

The WB’s assessment was called a “flawed” one because those who migrated from India and became Pakistan citizens after 1947 did not send back remittances.

The fresh clarification of the WB said its report was an effort to estimate migration and remittances numbers across the world. The report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individual.

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