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Government seek inquiry into NAB’s probe of money laundering allegations against Nawaz

Nawaz Sharif
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News Analysis |

The President of Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) and the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif has demanded an investigation into NAB’s announcement to probe the money laundering allegations against the ousted former premier, Nawaz Sharif.

Amid media frenzy – which discussed the news all day on Tuesday – NAB Chairman, Javed Iqbal’s decision to start inquiry over it has questioned the credibility of the institution and has become an embarrassment for the anti-graft watchdog.

The World Bank and the State Bank of Pakistan have categorically rejected the media reports regarding “world Bank’s Remittances and Migration Report of 2016”, which put the money laundering allegations against Sharif.

Read more: Iqama holders fit to rule under Election Act 2017

Shehbaz denounced the credibility of the anti-graft watchdog and raised questions over its in-house procedures before announcing a probe into allegations.

PML-N chief downplayed the recent statement by the NAB chairman Javed Iqbal that stated: “the sun was shining across the country, not just in Punjab.” He quipped that it appears that the sun has been blocked by clouds in other provinces. He was making a reference to the leniency towards the ruling PPP in Sindh.  NAB has closed many inquiries against the PPP leaders in Sindh which has put a question mark over the anti-graft watchdog’s slogan of ‘accountability for all.’

Today [Wednesday], Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi called for a special committee to be formed to investigate the allegations against the disgruntled Nawaz.

The PM demanded that the NAB chairman should be summoned before the Parliament to question over the source of this misinformation. He said, these allegations are of serious nature, which brought a bad name to the country and therefore, facts should be presented before the Parliament and the masses.

Read more: PM Abbasi and Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir lash out at NAB

He cried a foul play in the court and regretted that we don’t expect justice from the accountability courts.

Abbasi urged the opposition to consider bringing amendments to the Accountability Law. He claimed that “the political parties have already agreed to these amendments and further debate or a meeting will be held to move forward the process”.

PTI opposed the PM’s call for the formation of a parliamentary committee to probe the matter. PTI’s senior leader, Asad Umar said that “the NAB allegations are stemmed from a report prepared by the World Bank and we don’t know if NAB allegations are true or not.”

He criticized the newly elected Finance Minister Mifta Ismail for not responding to the allegations firsthand. Asad argued that the finance ministry should have clarified the former PM’s position by citing the SBP’s factual stance on the matter, which must be available with the government. However, in the absence of finance ministry, NAB opted to investigate the matter.

Read more: World Bank refutes media claims of money laundering allegations against Nawaz

The PTI leader reminded the government of the time when opposition called for an investigation after the Panama revelations and the fact that the former PM opted to go to Supreme Court. Now, if an institution has decided to investigate the matter, what is wrong in it?

The government is trying to take leverage over the issue. After, Ahsan Iqbal, the PM termed the allegations leveled against the Nawaz Sharif as pre-poll rigging.

As expected, Mahmood Khan Achakzai also supported the idea of the constitution of the committee and the PPP decided to respond later, after consultation with party leaders.

NAB is facing media scrutiny, after allegations of being lenient towards the ruling PPP in Sindh. NAB should have acted more vigilantly amid the on-going extraordinary scrutiny of the ruling PML-N.


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