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May 16, 2018

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NA committee summons NAB chairman

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice on Tuesday summoned Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal on Wednesday (today) to justify complaint verification against ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif over alleged laundering of $4.9 billion to India.

The committee will meet with Chaudhry Ashraf in the chair. Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has been asked to appear before the committee in person. The matter of probing the allegation against the former prime minister with regard to money laundering of $4.9 billion was referred to the standing committee on Tuesday.

It may be mentioned that last week Javed Iqbal had ordered complaint verification against Nawaz Sharif for allegedly laundering $4.9 billion to India. According to a NAB statement, the chairman had taken notice on a media report which made the claim, citing a World Bank report.

However, the World Bank clarified that its report neither mentioned names or amounts nor the alleged money laundering. Nawaz Sharif rejected the allegation and asked the NAB chairman to step down and apologise for leveling a ‘baseless’ allegation against him.

Addressing the National Assembly, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi proposed the constitution of a parliamentary committee to probe the NAB allegation against Nawaz Sharif.

However, the opposition rejected the proposal. Meanwhile, in a related development, the PPP members of the standing committee — Syed Naveed Qamar and Shagufta Jumani — dispatched their resignations to the chairman in protest against the executive's interference in NAB's working.

According to sources, the two parliamentarians were of the opinion that summoning the committee meeting on Wednesday showed the government’s bad intentions, as it knew that the PPP leadership would be in Sindh on that day to participate in a protest against water shortage.

They opposed the government’s move to summon the NAB chief, terming it interference in the independence of institutions and an attempt to weaken the country’s top anti-corruption watchdog.

The Pakistan People’s Party has expressed the hope that the PTI members of the committee will also lodge their protest and resign from the committee. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) released a statement on September 21, 2016, rejecting the estimates of $4.9 billion remittances from Pakistan to India.

“This number is given in Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016 prepared by the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD),” said the statement.

It said the Factbook data on bilateral remittance flows were estimates and not the actual flows, which were based on a number of assumptions about the migrant stock, per worker income, etc.

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