Home Global Village After Hudaibya case, Nawaz Sharif again under NAB’s radar for money-laundering

After Hudaibya case, Nawaz Sharif again under NAB’s radar for money-laundering

Hudaibya
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News Analysis |

The National Accountability Bureau has started a fresh inquiry against Nawaz Sharif, the former premier of the country, over the allegations of his involvement in massive money laundering. According to a communiqué issued by the anti-corruption watchdog, Sharif was alleged to have laundered a staggering $4.9 billion to India, for which the bureau has started verification.

The damaging aspect of the fresh allegation is the accountability watchdog alluded to the World Bank’s Migration and Remittance Book 2016, claiming that the allegations were bolstered by the document. Interestingly, this is the fifth inquiry launched against the Supreme Leader of ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz. As many as three corruption references have already been filed in the accountability court of Islamabad, where Sharif is regularly showing up, however, this allegation is apparently more severe than the rest of the inquiries.

Not only the allegation of money-laundering by the former chief executive has raised the eyebrows of economists, but the transfer of huge sums of money to Pakistan’s arch-rival, India, has further dented the reputation of the 68-year-old politician. In its press release, NAB has also revealed that the transfer resulted in the increase of Foreign Exchange Reserves of India but inflicted a heavy damage on the economy of Pakistan. Interestingly, the State Bank of Pakistan had categorically rejected the reports in 2016 about the transfer of $4.9 billion, terming it contrary to facts.

The National Accountability Bureau also filed an appeal before the Supreme Court to reopen the case, however, an apex court bench headed by Justice Qazi Faiz Essa dismissed the petition.

The central bank also mentioned the findings of the World Bank’s data but added that the monetary institute relied on estimates, instead of actual flows: “It must be noted that the Fact Book data on bilateral remittance flows suggests estimates (not actual flows), which are based on a number of assumptions on migrant stock, per worker income, etc,” the State Bank had said.

The probability of NAB filing a reference against former premier in the fresh allegation seems bleak, because the data formulated by the World Bank seems unverified and far from facts. The apparent reason for the anti-corruption body to have actually taken up a media report might be due to the cordial relationship Nawaz Sharif has maintained – on a personal level – with India.

Read more: Hudaibya Decision: Should Ex-heads of NAB from Gen. Amjad to Qamar…

According to the details, the said amount of money was transferred during 2014-15. Interestingly, Nawaz Sharif assumed office of the premier in June 2013 while his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi was sworn in, in May 2014.

The swearing in ceremony of Modi was attended by the world leaders including Nawaz Sharif, his wife, Kulsoom and son, Hussain Nawaz. In the same year, Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi had a brief interaction in Nepal, where both assembled for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit. Moreover, in 2015, Indian Premier, Narendra Modi arrived on a surprise visit to Pakistan and attended the wedding ceremony of Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter, Mehrun Nisa.

Not only the allegation of money-laundering by the former chief executive has raised the eyebrows of economists, but the transfer of huge sums of money to Pakistan’s arch-rival, India, has further dented the reputation of the 68-year-old politician.

The warm relationship between Nawaz Sharif and India is not just related to political players as the ruling family also maintains ties with numerous businessmen on the other side of the border – most noticeably, steel magnate. In 2015, Sharif met Indian steel tycoon, Sajjan Jindal. The tycoon also ‘secretly’ toured Pakistan, months before the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif and called on him at his Murree residence.

With this in mind, the allegations of money laundering to India might appear true on the surface, however, the National Accountability Bureau might not be able to pursue the case owing to the flaws and technicalities in the data, which has been rejected by the central bank as well. The anti-corruption body should better exert energy into investigating the Hudaibya Paper Mills case in which Ishaq Dar, the former Finance Minister, submitted a hand written confession, confirming that Sharifs used the said paper mill to whiten money.

Read more: Justice Khosa excuses himself from Hudaibiya case & sets a standard…

The confessional statement produced before a magistrate on April 25, 2000, was irrevocable as Dar had given the statement under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). The 43-page statement by Dar revealed that on the instructions of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif, he opened foreign currency accounts which were later used in the money-laundering. Even during the probe of Panama Papers Case by the six-member Joint Investigation Team, the allegations of money laundering surfaced against the Sharif family.

According to the details, the said amount of money was transferred during 2014-15. Interestingly, Nawaz Sharif assumed office of the premier in June 2013 while his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi was sworn in, in May 2014.

The National Accountability Bureau also filed an appeal before the Supreme Court to reopen the case, however, an apex court bench headed by Justice Qazi Faiz Essa dismissed the petition. Interestingly Justice Qazi Faiz Essa has been critical of the role of the establishment and has also questioned the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif on the basis of iqama (foreign permit), instead of London flats. Even in his judgment, scrapping the review petition, the honorable judge termed the Hudaibya case, a tool to pressurize the Sharif family.

Read more: I am the King – I don’t need courts to verify…

The National Accountability Bureau has once again filed a review petition in the apex court, seeking to review the judgment penned by Justice Qazi Faiz Essa, and the bureau should exert more effort in the case instead of the fresh allegations, because the Hudaibya case can provide a smoking gun regarding the money laundering of Sharif family.


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