ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal’s ordering a probe into media reports levelling the allegations that former premier Nawaz Sharif allegedly sent $4.9 billion to India has triggered strong reaction from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), questioning the anti-graft watchdog’s integrity.
Hours after Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s criticism of NAB over the money-laundering probe against Sharif, the bureau in a statement made it clear that it doesn’t believe in any sort of revengeful action against the former premier.
NAB said it has been probing reports circulating in the media that the PML-N Quaid sent billions of dollars to India as per its laws.
It clarified that the decision to launch the probe was taken on the basis of media reports and that it is well within its jurisdiction to probe money-laundering related matters.
The prime minister while addressing the National Assembly 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 huge amount sent through money laundering, inflicting losses to Pakistan’s national kitty.