NAB extends net as ‘big fish’ wriggle | Pakistan Today

NAB extends net as ‘big fish’ wriggle

  • Shehbaz Sharif, Zaeem Qadri summoned in Saaf Pani scam; Fawad Hasan Fawad summoned in Ashiana Housing case
  • Nawaz Sharif phones Shehbaz, discusses strategy in wake of arrests of PML-N’s candidates by NAB
  • NAB chief says not concerned with polls, will take action against all corrupt people

LAHORE: With the general elections only a month away, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned political bigwigs, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Aleem Khan and PML-Quaid leader Moonis Elahi, in cases pertaining to corruption and offshore companies.

The development comes a day after a meeting of the anti-graft watchdog wherein it was announced by the anti-graft watchdog’s chief, Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, of filing of references in mega corruption cases.

“In the coming days, NAB will file references in the accountability court regarding some mega corruption cases, for which we have complete evidence. We investigated mega corruption cases which had been swept under the carpet in the past,” he had said on Monday.

Shehbaz—who has already skipped two summons, including June 25’s— has been directed to appear on July 5, again, to explain the irregularities in the Saaf Pani Company and Ashiana Housing scams. Besides Shehbaz, ex-PML-N leader Zaeem Qadri has been summoned on June 27 in the said cases.

According to NAB, Shehbaz was summoned because he, in his capacity as a chief minister, had approved the alleged illegal projects.

INTERPOL TO BRING BACK SHARIF SONS, DAR:

NAB has also decided to initiate proceedings to bring Hasan and Hussain Nawaz back to Pakistan through Interpol.

According to reports, the anti-graft body would also initiate proceedings to bring former finance minister Ishaq Dar and Ali Imran to the country.

The anti-corruption watchdog has also reportedly recommended placement of names of Punjab government secretaries, Ali Jan and Najam Shah, on the Exit Control List (ECL).

ALEEM, MOONIS ASKED TO EXPLAIN OFFSHORE COMPANIES:

PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan and PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi have been asked to appear before anti-graft body on July 10 and July 13, respectively. They have been asked to appear at NAB’s Lahore headquarters to explain their offshore companies.

Separately, NAB has also summoned Fawad Hasan Fawad, ex-principal secretary, on July 3 in a case pertaining to the Ashiana Housing Scheme. Fawad is accused of overstepping his authority in Ashiana project, which he denies. He is suspected of having misused his authority while he was posted in the Punjab government.

ISLAM SENT ON REMAND:

In addition to that, NAB has also gotten physical remand of ex-PML-N MPA Qamarul Islam till July 9—who was arrested on Monday—in a case pertaining to the Saaf Pani scam.

Islam, a PML-N ticketholder in the run against former interior minister Nasir Ali Khan from Rawalpindi’s NA-59 constituency, was the chairman of the Punjab government-owned Saaf Pani Company. He has been accused of awarding contracts for 84 water treatment plants at a higher price in at least four tehsils.

Islam along with former CEO of the Saaf Pani was presented in court on Tuesday following their arrest on Monday evening.

During the hearing, NAB officials stated that the accused are involved in corruption worth millions of rupees. The NAB prosecutor requested the judge to grant a 15-day physical remand of the accused.

Islam’s lawyer opposed NAB’s request, alleging that his client was being subjected to political victimisation. However, the judge admitted NAB’s plea and gave the watchdog custody of the two accused.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Islam claimed that he will still receive votes even if he’s incarcerated.

According to NAB, the accused had awarded contracts to SB Pumps Company and KSB Pumps Company on inflated rates, and got contract of 102 water plants forcibly approved from the board of directors.

The anti-graft watchdog asserted that the former CEO of Saaf Pani Company installed eight illegal filtration plants in Tehsil Dunyapur and money was acquired for office that was not established.

PML-N SAYS NAB TARGETTING PARTY:

Following Islam’s arrest, the PML-N leadership lashed out at the anti-graft bureau for “victimizing” the party—an oft-repeated mantra of the leadership, especially party quaid Nawaz Sharif.

In response to NAB’s alleged targeting of the PML-N, Nawaz Sharif directed party leaders to adopt a strict strategy in the wake of arrests of the election candidates.

In a phone call to party president Shehbaz Sharif from London, Nawaz discussed the current situation and future strategy regarding the arrest of party candidates by the NAB, besides directing them to protest the arrest of Islam. NAB will continue to take action against the party ahead of elections, the ex-PM claimed.

Separately, ex-senator Nehal Hashmi, in a TV show, claimed that the arrest of Islam is to benefit Ch Nisar during the elections. He expressed apprehension over the timings of Islam’s arrest, saying the arrest coming at the time of elections is highly concerning.

NAB CHIEF REJECTS CHARGE:

Responding to the criticism, NAB chief Iqbal said that the bureau will complete all investigations of cases referred by the Supreme Court.

“NAB has no link with the general election. All accused are equal before the law and their status and position ends outside NAB office,” he said during a meeting at the bureau’s Lahore office on Tuesday.

He added that NAB would take stern action against the plunderers of national wealth and will recover all the looted money from their possession.



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