ISLAMABAD – The National Assembly’s Standing committee on Law and Justice has summoned the chairman of National Accountability Bureau for initiating a probe into ‘baseless’ allegations of money laundering against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Justice (r) Javed Iqbal was ordered to appear before the committee on May 16 to, in person, brief on the probe into allegations of money laundering against the deposed prime minister.
Chaudhary Ashraf will be heading the committee, which took notice over a point of order raised by PML-N assembly member Rana Hayat
The committee also ordered the NAB chief to be accompanied by officers involved in the probe.
Meanwhile, two leaders of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – Naveed Qamar and Shagufta Jamani – submitted their resignations, saying such action against the NAB chief would obstruct the ongoing accountability drive in the country.
On May 8, taking notice of a misleading newspaper article based on a ‘flawed’ report of the World Bank, the anti-corruption watchdog started verification whether Sharif was involved in sending $4.9 billion to India.
According to NAB, 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.
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.
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.
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.”
The WB provided an explanation of the methodology used in the report and the official remittances numbers.
On the other hand, the graft-buster maintains the bureau is authorised to investigate money laundering as per the law.
It also dispelled the impression the NAB wanted to hurt anybody or take revenge. “The bureau does not believes in taking revenge, but it is determined to eliminate corruption from the country without discrimination.”