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Lahore NAB asked HQ to put Shehbaz on ECL

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau, Lahore has written a letter to the NAB Headquarters, Islamabad for placing the name of PMLN President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on the Exit Control List (ECL) in ongoing investigation in assets beyond known sources of income and alleged money laundering, official documents and highly-placed sources disclosed on Monday.

However, the interior ministry officials did not confirm receiving any letter from the NAB Headquarters on the issue.

According to sources, the NAB Lahore wrote a letter to DG Operations NAB Headquarters on April 28 recommending that Shehbaz Sharif be placed on the ECL in investigations against him, Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, Suleman Shehbaz Sharif and others in assets disproportionate to known source of income and money laundering cases. According to a copy of the letter, the NAB Lahore stated that vide order dated 22-04-2021, the Hon’able LHC, Lahore grated bail to accused Shehbaz Sharif, whereas no orders, regarding placement of name of accused on ECL, or surrendering of passport have been passed.

“As the presence of accused required to face the trial is recommended that the name of Mian Shehbaz Sharif may be place on the ECL for smooth trial of the reference no 22/2020,” the letter of the NAB stated. It said the NAB HQ was requested for placement of Shehbaz Sharif on ECL whereas Ministry of Interior was requested No 3-1(1)285/L/WII/NAB/Dy.Dir (ECL) dated 19.02.19 and resultantly Ministry of Interior vide letter No12/46/2019-ECL dated 21.02.2019 confirmed the placement of accused Shehbaz Sharif on ECL.

The letter further stated that thereafter the accused Mian Shehbaz Sharif filed a writ petition NO 12312/2019 with the LHC for removal of his name from ECL and the LHC wide order dated 26.03.22019 set aside the memorandum of Ministry of Interior dated 21-02-2019. The letter stated that in this regard another request for placement of name of accused Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on ECL was forwarded to NAB HQ Islamabad vide letter No.1(61)HQ/1974/IW-II/NAB-L dated 17-06-2020 and in response, thereof, the Learned Prosecutor General NAB HQ vide letter dated 6-8-2020 conveyed instead of placing the name of accused Shehbaz Sharif on ECL, the competent authority has approved to place, before Hon’able Supreme Court of Pakistan, the material collected against the accused for placing the name on ECL after assessing order dated 26-03-2019 by the Hon’able Lahore High Court, Lahore, which is still pending.

The letter stated that A reference (ACR No 22/2020) has been filed against Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, Mrs Nusrat Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, Suleman Shehbaz Sharif, Muhammad Usman, and 11 others and the said reference was filed on August 20, 2020 on the allegations of accumulation of disproportionate assets of tune of Rs7,328 million through dishonest means and money laundering which is pending before Accountability Court No II, Lahore.

The letter stated that names of all persons except Shehbaz Sharif had been placed on ECL and 11 other accused persons Shahbaz Sharif were facing trail whereas 5 accused had been declared proclaimed offenders. The NAB Lahore letter further stated that further vide order dated 22-04-2021, the Hon’able LHC, Lahore grated bail to accused Shehbaz Sharif, whereas no orders, regarding placement of name of accused on ECL, or surrendering of passport have been passed.”