NA panel summons NAB chief over probe against Nawaz

Islamabad (HRNW): The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice has summoned the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, today to give an explanation over the initiating an inquiry against former premier Nawaz Sharif for allegedly laundering billions of dollars to India. The parliamentary panel headed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf has called the NAB chief at 2:30 pm today. The Committee’s summoning the head of the anti-graft watchdog comes on the heels of a controversy triggered by the PML-N supreme leader over his controversial statement about the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Earlier, criticising the anti-graft Bureau for money-laundering probe against Nawaz, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had asked the National Assembly to constitute a committee, summon NAB chairman and investigate Mr. Sharif’s alleged involvement in sending $4.9 billion to India. The prime minister while addressing in the NA asked the house to constitute a committee in this regard. The premier in his speech alleged that the institution [NAB] has overstepped its domain. Mr. Abbasi said the country would not function if the institutions work in this way, he added, pointing out that the National Assembly still has time to amend the NAB laws. Taking notice of a 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?” 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. A WB spokesman said: “We would also like to refer to a statement by the State Bank of Pakistan which rejects estimates of $4.9 billion in remittances from Pakistan to India on Sept 21, 2016.” NAB launched the probe against Mr. Sharif 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 amount from Pakistan.

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