— Legal team conveys ex-ruling family’s message in writing
LAHORE: Former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his sons Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz will not appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) till a verdict is passed on the review petitions submitted earlier by the former ruling family in the Supreme Court.
The NAB was conveyed the message in writing by the legal team of the Sharif family. “My client Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has been apprised of the above cited notice and instructed me to convey his inability to appear before the investigation team as has already filed a review petition against the judgement dated July 28, 2017,” the letter said.
In case of acceptance of the review petition, the proceedings initiated by NAB shall be an exercise in futility. After clarifying that no notices had been received by Nawaz or his sons, the legal team advised the Sharif family to not recognise the NAB reference. It has been recommended that there was no reason to recognise the NAB reference.
Additionally, it has also been recommended that NAB proceedings will be unjust, will not be transparent and will be one-sided, a private TV channel reported. In light of Nawaz Sharif and his sons’ expected appearance before the National Accountability Bureau on Friday, all regular proceedings were suspended, but neither of the three Sharifs appeared before the accountability bureau.
According to the NAB officials, the Sharif family members were summoned to file their replies pertaining to the reference against them. However, Senator Asif Kirmani said that Nawaz Sharif and his sons had not received any notice to appear before the accountability bureau. When such notices are received, the decision to appear before the bureau directly or through legal counsel will be made after consulting with the lawyers, he said.
Besides suspension of the regular proceedings, a heavy contingent of the security officials was deployed at the site in anticipation of the former prime minister’s appearance. However, the Sharif family reportedly said that Hasan and Hussain have not yet received any notification for appearance before the accountability bureau.
“We have learnt about the NAB notice only in the news, no communication has been made till now,” a family member said. Former prime minister’s cousin Tariq Shafi and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar have also been summoned. Moreover, NAB also wrote a letter to the Excise and Taxation Department, asking for details on assets and cars registered in the name of Dar.
The department has been asked to submit details by August 21. Alongside this, the Volume-X of the Joint Investigation Team, which probed former prime minister’s assets, has also been handed over to NAB. The accountability bureau has also decided to use the services of JIT’s members Wajid Zia and Irfan Mangi.
A letter has also been written to the government of Saudi Arabia to get more details of the assets of Sharif family. NAB has been tasked with filing references against the Sharif family, Ishaq Dar and Muhammad Safdar by September 8.
The references would be filed as ordered by the Supreme Court as part of the verdict which disqualified the prime minister. References would be filed by NAB Rawalpindi against Nawaz Sharif, Hassan Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz, Muhammad Safdar and Ishaq Dar and the case will be pursued in an accountability court.
Clarifying a news item, the NAB spokesperson said that the NAB chairman would proceed to Vienna, Austria, on official visit for a five-days with effect from August 21.
PTI REACTS: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry lashed out at Nawaz Sharif and his sons for not appearing before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) today as scheduled.
He also criticised Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, PML-N’s candidate for the NA-120 by-election and the wife of former premier, for not being present during scrutiny of her nomination papers. He alleged that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar along with National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed and former Securities and Exchange Commission (SECP) chairman Zafar Hijazi were running the largest money laundering network in Pakistan.
“The money laundering network is probably the biggest in Asia,” he said. The PTI leader also criticised Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and said he continues to act like a ‘puppet’ prime minister. “Know all the facts he is still siding with the money laundering network,” he said and again questioned the source of the Sharif family’s wealth.