ISLAMABAD – Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif sent a legal notice to National Accountability Bureau Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal for issuing a communique that accused him of illegally laundering $4.9 billion to India.
The notice forwarded on Thursday states that the NAB chief issued a false and defamatory press release on May 8 on the basis of media reports that Nawaz sent $4.9 billion to India, prompting a swell in foreign exchange reserves of India and inflicting a loss to Pakistan’s national exchequer.
The official press release also quoted World Bank’s Migration and Remittances Factbook, 2016, however, the monetary institute had quashed any such assertions.
According to the legal notice, Nawaz is neither mentioned in the World Bank’s Migration and Remittances Factbook, 2016 nor any other official document, despite that “he was connected with the alleged money laundering with the intention to malign him and cause him political damage”.
The notice has been served under Section 8 of Defamation Ordinance, 2002, which allows a person to demand action on defamatory matter against him/her.
According to the contents of the notice, the NAB chief has been asked to publish a comprehensive and proper apology in two English and Urdu dailies and also broadcast his apology in the same manner and with the same prominence as the earlier transmission.
Taking a strong exception to the scathing allegations, the elder Sharif has asked Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal to pay Rs1 billion in damages on account of the defamatory publications and for the subsequent losses.
The money-laundering probe has created troubles for the accountability watchdog as its chief was asked to appear before the National Assembly’s Standing committee, however, the chief did not turn up.
Earlier, Nawaz Sharif had demanded the NAB head to either present proof of the allegations or resign from office.
“The NAB chairperson should present all evidence against me within 24 hours,” Nawaz said while addressing an emergency press conference at the Punjab House on May 10.
Unfazed by the warning, the NAB chief said that it was not a crime to probe into corruption.
“We shall continue to do so even if it is considered a crime by anyone,” he said in a veiled reference to Nawaz’s criticism.