The National Assembly’s standing committee on law and justice summoned the NAB chairperson. Two PPP lawmakers resigned in protest.
NAB Chairperson Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal was summoned for initiating an investigation into allegations of sending money to India against former PM Nawaz Sharif.
The committee ordered him to appear in person on Wednesday and brief the committee on the investigations into the money laundering allegations. The NAB chief has been told to bring along other officers involved in the investigations.
On May 8, NAB took notice of a misleading newspaper article based on a ‘flawed’ report of the World Bank, which stated that Mr Sharif was involved in sending $4.9 billion to India.
PML-N lawmaker Rana Hayat had raised a point of order, after which the NA standing committee notice of the issue. Chaudhary Ashraf heads the committee.
On the other hand, two leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Naveed Qamar and Shagufta Jamani, submitted their resignations, saying that such action against the NAB chief would hinder the ongoing accountability drive in the country.
Money laundering allegations
NAB says that 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 sum sent through money laundering, inflicting losses to Pakistan’s national exchequer.
The World Bank stated that “the report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals”. The State Bank of Pakistan said the estimates showed in the World Bank report were based on “assumptions”, which did not reflect the reality.
After the State Bank’s clarification, NAB issued a brief statement, asking that if the World Bank report is incorrect, why they have yet to change the figure of $4.9 billion dollars from Pakistan in its report.
“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,” said a World Bank spokesperson.
The corruption watchdog nonetheless maintains that it is authorised to investigate money laundering as per the law.
Story first published: 16th May 2018