Nation special report
ISLAMABAD: Fed-up with continued ‘witch hunt’ campaign and bombardment of allegations, the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to fight back and on Thursday shot back at the National Accountability Bureau (NAB),saying that the watchdog’s allegations against him were “shameful”.
Sharif was referring to NAB’s probe against him, involving alleged money laundering of $4.9 billion to India. Commenting on unbelievable situation, the financial experts said;“This is the first scam involving a neighbour country.
If all proved wrong, would be a laughing stone not only for two countries but for the whole world”, comment financial experts. No comment from India has been received so far or it may be said that Indian side did not bother to respond to this blame game which has become common in Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Nawaz Sharif said the cases being heard against him by an accountability court are also based on unverified media reports, resulting from the Panama Papers leaks. “I have appeared approximately 70 times in the bogus accountability cases,” he said, adding that NAB and its chairman have lost all credibility.
“You shall remember that I was not named in the Panama Papers but whatever happened is in front of you.” He claimed that the joint investigation team made by the Supreme Court could not prove corruption of a “single penny” against him. “But it had been decided to oust me and so an iqama, a visa, was used to disqualify me.” Presenting a distorted version of World Bank report is a part of the same conspiracy against him, Sharif alleged. “Does NAB not know that the World Bank had issued a clarification two years ago and said there had been no money laundering? Does it not know that reputed newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, Dawn, Business Recorder had reported on the issue?”
“Despite all of this, using an unknown column in an unknown newspaper published four months ago, was used to begin an investigation [against me].”
Terming NAB’s inquiries against PML-N leaders “pre-poll rigging”, Sharif demanded that the NAB chairman bring forward evidence to prove the allegations against him or resign. “It is NAB’s duty to answer all my questions within 24 hours and address these reservations. Failing to do so, NAB should apologise to the nation and the chairman resign.”
The disqualified prime minister thanked the media which he said had conducted a “postmortem” of the issue hours after NAB ordered the inquiry against him and presented the facts.
According to NAB, the World Bank’s migration and remittance book released in September 2016 carried information that foreign exchange reserves of India increased by $4.9bn after receiving the huge amount sent through money laundering, inflicting losses to Pakistan’s national kitty.
While the World Bank promptly responded to the NAB move and stated “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 WB report were based on “assumptions” which did not reflect the reality.
Nawaz Sharif alleged during the press conference that some forces had been pressuring his party’s MNAs to quit and contest election as independents or join the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and questioned who these elements were. Sharif said some of his party’s MNAs who do not wish to leave the party had told him they were approached by people to get their loyalties changed. “These are not NAB people,” Sharif claimed, adding that people who refuse to comply are threatened with NAB cases. Sharif said some of these cases have already been instituted and wondered who the “celestial beings” had a nexus with. He said there is no provision in NAB law that permits lodging cases on the instruction of some one else or getting someone to change their loyalties.
Role of aliens
Asked who he was referring to when he claimed he was up against an extraterrestrial species or aliens (khalai makhlooq), Sharif said the celestial species is “invisible” and has been present in the country for past 70 years.
“The [celestial] species is now going to have a face-off with earthly beings,” he said, adding that the latter will defeat the former. Once again questioning the corruption trial against him, Sharif said the cases would have been decided within 10 days if there had been any credible evidence.”I think they want to drag the case until qayamat [day of judgment] or till they fabricate something to get me convicted.”
Retired Justice Javed Iqbal, the incumbent chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), on Thursday said that the bureau remains undeterred in the face of criticism and will continue to probe corruption cases in accordance to the law.
Without an explicit mention of that particular case, Iqbal defended his department’s conduct and said that it will keep on operating as usual even if some find that upsetting. “Whatever the NAB is doing it’s doing for the country, for the people,” the NAB chairman said during his speech in Peshawar .