Nation special report
Pakistan where almost every day political and financial scams are emerging during the digging process of old graves and now a scandal is surfaced which is criticised by government itself. A new campaign maligning the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif surfaced in Pakistan on Tuesday (8th May) but he definitely would be relieved and satisfied over timely rebuttal by the World Bank. In Pakistani media, the reports circulated claiming that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had laundered $4.9 billion to India to increase New Delhi’s foreign reserves and damaging Pakistan financial position. The NAB Chief Justice Javed Iqbal took notice of reports immediately that former minister Nawaz Sharif transferred $4.9 billion illegally to bank account of Indian government.
He ordered the relevant authorities to gather the information and put all details on his table for further action. For these media reports, which were prominently highlighted on TV channels and print media as a new chapter to start controversy with the neighbour country India, was purportedly based on World Bank’s ‘Migration And Remittances Fact book 2016’report.
According to a NAB spokesman, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is verifying the media reports and necessary action would be taken. Meanwhile, World Bank has dismissed media reports. A statement issued by the World Bank said; “In the past day, there have been media reports citing the World Bank’s Remittances and Migration Report of 2016.
These media reports were incorrect”. “The World Bank’s Remittances and Migration Report is an effort by the World Bank to estimate migration and remittances numbers across the world. The report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals,” it said, sharing the link of its report. “In this report, the World Bank estimates bilateral remittances between countries using the methodology summarized in the World Bank Working Paper 102 South-South migration and remittances by the authors of the report.”
“We would also like to refer to a statement by the State Bank of Pakistan SBP rejects estimates of US$4.9 billion remittances from Pakistan to India on September 21, 2016, refuting the $4.9 billion remittances number and providing an explanation of the methodology used in the World Bank report and the official remittances numbers.” The clarification came hours after National Accountability Bureau (NAB) said it would open an enquiry into claims that Nawaz Sharif laundered $4.9 billion to India that increased New Dehli’s foreign reserves. It is pertinent to mention here that State Bank of Pakistan had already denied these media reports and categorically stated that the record shows no such transaction was carried during the mentioned period.
Commenting on the development, Nawaz Sharif told the media in Islamabad that these reports are one of the part of many calculated conspiracies and campaigns against him but he is not afraid and would face all odd situation.“This is nothing, many new concocted stories are yet to come”, he remarked.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday strongly criticised the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for launching a probe against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, involving alleged money laundering of $4.9 billion to India. According to NAB, it launched the probe after a Sept 2016 World Bank migration and remittance book reported that India’s foreign exchange reserves had increased by $4.9 billion due to huge cash inflows attributed to money laundering, inflicting losses to Pakistan’s national kitty.
The prime minister while addressing the National Assembly asked the House to constitute a committee which would summon the NAB chairman and investigate the allegations. The premier in his tirade also claimed that the institution had overstepped its domain.
The country will not function if institutions will work in this way, he added, pointing out that the NA still has time to amend the NAB laws. He asked the House to “summon the NAB chairman” to clear his position as “allegations of a very serious nature” had been levelled against the former prime minister.
Abbasi said that based on the manner in which the former premier had been brought before the accountability court, he did not believe that NAB would be able to provide justice to Nawaz Sharif. Prerequisites of justice should be met in all matters, the prime minister said, adding: “Not only should justice be done, it must also be seen being done.”
“The Bureau should play its due role against corruption and should fulfil the requirements of justice,” he added. Earlier Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan expressed the same sentiments and criticised NAB for launching the money laundering probe against Nawaz Sharif. Syed Naveed Qamar of the PPP said he could understand the prime minister’s concern but he partially disagreed with the idea of summoning the NAB chairman and held it tantamount to interference into NAB affairs. “It will be a new precedent if we interfere into the matters of an institution that we ourselves created,” he said, adding that he, however, would consult with his party leadership over the issue of constituting a committee on the matter. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Asad Umar categorically opposed the suggestion of constituting a committee on the issue. He said that interfering into the affairs of NAB would be “tantamount to the murder of justice and accountability” in the country.
“NAB is fulfilling the role that the Finance Ministry should have played on the first day the report came out,” he said. ‘Flawed’ report Taking notice of a misleading newspaper article based on a ‘flawed’ report of the World Bank, NAB has started looking into whether ousted premier Sharif was involved in the alleged laundering of $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 reality.