Nawaz Sharif sends Rs1bn notice to NAB chairman for defamatory statement about laundering $4.9bn to India.
Also gives reasons of his ousting and disqualification, accuses ISI chief of threatening overthrow his government and harsh attitude
Nation special report
ISLAMABD: In wake of ongoing ‘blame game politics’ the ousted but determined Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took another blunt step on Thursday which observers termed as ‘Backfire’sending Rs1bn legal notice to NAB chairman for ‘defamatory’ press release.
Nawaz Sharif sent a legal notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman, retired Justice Javed Iqbal, for insinuating that money laundering to the tune of $4.9 billion to India may have been done under Sharif’s supervision.
The notice was in reference to a NAB release issued after a news item published by a local newspaper incorrectly referenced the World Bank’s 2016 Migration and Remittance Book to say that India’s foreign exchange reserves increased by $4.9 billion due to huge cash inflows from Pakistan attributable to money laundering by the Sharif family.
In Sharif’s notice to the NAB chairman, sent through his lawyer Barrister Manzoor Dogal, Nawaz described the press release as an attempt to influence the upcoming elections. He demanded that Iqbal tender an apology for his “insulting” press release and payRs1 billion as damages within the next 14 days. The PML-N supreme leader further demanded that the NAB chairman’s apology be published in all leading Urdu and English newspapers as well.
According to the legal notice, if the NAB chairman does not tender an apology or does not pay damages, legal action will be taken against him. On May 17, a different lawyer,A.K. Dogar, had sent a legal notice to Iqbal on Nawaz’s behalf.
In that notice, the NAB chief was asked to either apologise or resign from his post as NAB chief. Reasons of ousting Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif has claimed that he is facing Avenfield reference because he had iniatiated a high treason case against former military dictator retired general Pervez Musharraf.
He also alleged that the 2014 sit-in was part of a conspiracy to put him under pressure. Mr Sharif testified before the accountability court on Wednesday that he was shocked when the head of an intelligence agency conveyed him the message to “resign or go on a long leave” when the sit-in of Pakistan Tehreek-iInsaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) was at its peak. Later he read out the same statement at a press conference held in Punjab House. Accuses former spy agency’s chief of asking him to step down, he said; “It was strange that an official of a subordinate organisation asked the PM and the elected government to pack up,” Mr Sharif testified when asked why the Avenfield reference had been filed against him. While the ousted prime minister in his speech did not name the organisation, he reportedly sought resignation from then minister for climate change Mushahidullah Khan in August 2015 after the latter alleged in an interview to BBC that the former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief retired Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam wanted to overthrow the elected regime during the sit-in. Mr Sharif said the references (filed by the National Accountability Bureau) as well as the sit-ins against his government were his ‘punishment’ for taking legal action against retired general Musharraf despite being warned not to do so.
Such threats by a subordinate to the head of the state were not issued anywhere in the third world countries, he added. He said Gen Musharraf had staged a coup against his elected government in October 1999 and the judges of the superior judiciary welcomed him and ratified his dictatorial regime. On Nov 3, 2007 Gen Musharraf again declared a state of emergency and detained 60 judges at their residences, he recalled. Hinting that the PTI and the PAT were involved in the ‘conspiracy’ against him, Mr Sharif said: “Before the filing of the treason case I had met Imran Khan in Banigala and he did not demand my resignation. But surprisingly after Musharraf had been booked in a treason case, Khan and Qadri met in London where they planned the sit-in against my government.”
It was an open secret who had facilitated the sit-in, he added. The PML-N supreme leader then praised the armed forces for their sacrifices and recalled that he had upped the defence budget and refused to accept $5 billion that he had been offered if he would not conduct the nuclear test in the 1990s. However, he said, it was a “prerequisite forthe sanctity ofthe armed forces also that if a person suspends the Constitution then he should be held accountable. Only a few people in the armed forces staged a coup but the entire institution has to pay the price.” Mr Sharif said he had already been punished once for his unwavering stance on civil supremacy and recalled, “Some 19 years ago I was detained in torture cells, sentenced to life imprisonment, handcuffed and jetted off. Was there a Panama [Papers case] at that time? The answer is simply no. At that time, too, I was demanding civil supremacy. I wanted foreign and domestic policies to be in the hand of the elected representative.” Mr Sharif defended his government’s record over the past five years and said: “I am a son of the soil.
I don’t need a certificate of patriotism from anyone. During the past five years, the growth has been phenomenal — unmatched under any regime in the past 65 years.” He voiced his displeasure over the verdict issued by the Supreme Court against him on July 28, 2017. “That judgement may satisfy some people but it was not good for the overall image of Pakistan. It did not contribute to the judiciary or criminal justice system because of the uncertainty arising after the verdict.” The PML-N supreme leader then questioned the accountability court as to why the judiciary did not do anything against dictatorial regimes in the past. “I wish you could ask [PM] Liaquat Ali Khan why he was martyred, why [PM] Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged, why [ex-PM] Benazir Bhutto was assassinated?” said Mr Sharif. He added: “I wish there was a court that could dare to ask generals why they had abrogated the Constitution and why the judges had legitimised their dictatorial regimes.”
“There islot to say why I was dragged in these cases but in the national interest I cannot go beyond. If you are aware of the history of Pakistan you may be well aware how such cases are fabricated,” he asserted. Mr Sharif claimed the allegations levelled against him were baseless and requested Judge Mohammad Bashir of the accountability court to “make a just decision, as both of us will appear before the Almighty one day.”