Federal ministers defend NAB after criticism on Asif’s arrest

ISLAMABAD: Rebuking the opposition for its criticism over the arrest of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Khawaja Asif, federal ministers came to the rescue of the anti-graft body and said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was not acting on the ruling party’s orders.
“NAB is an independent bureau which was formed before the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government came into power,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in a press conference on Wednesday, flanked by Information Minister Shibli Faraz and Advisor to Prime Minister Babar Awan.
Qureshi further said that Asif – who was arrested in an asserts beyond means case – needs to stop hiding behind the excuse of “political vendetta” and face accountability. “It seems as if Asif could not answer NAB’s questions,” the foreign minister said, adding that Asif had been invited to present himself to NAB many times already.
The foreign minister said that since yesterday evening — when Asif was arrested — a storm has erupted and Opposition parties have been saying that NAB has been exacting revenge on political rivals of the government. PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz had termed Asif’s arrest and ‘abduction’, terming NAB an institution guilty of “political engineering”.
Qureshi rebuked the claims of a so-called nexus between NAB and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). He stressed that no one was above the law and if a state institution summons anyone they are obliged to appear before it.
“Only Khawaja Asif can shed light on why he was arrested,” he said. “They say, ‘If you ask us questions, we will lay a siege around you”. The FM added that the opposition, which had asked for a weakening of NAB’s power as a prerequisite to holding talks, was trying to find another way to get an NRO.
He dared the opposition to expose NAB if the institution was truly “filthy”.
“But they do not have answers to NAB’s questions,” he said. “Imran Khan brought forth a 40-year-old record and appeared before the court,” said Qureshi, adding that after weighing the evidence, the Supreme Court declared PM Imran Khan “honest and truthful”.
Speaking on the occasion, Babar Awan lashed out at Nawaz Sharif and Khawaja Asif for having gotten an Iqamah. He explained that the Iqamah was granted to those that worked abroad, but politicians were using it to launder money.
Awan said that Pakistan was that “unfortunate country” from where billions were stolen and stashed abroad. He accused the opposition of making the NRO an excuse or their resignations from the parliament to escape NAB’s accountability.
Furthermore, Faraz stated that, unfortunately, state institutions were used for political gains in the past.
He further said that a Senate session has been called on the requisition of the opposition.
“We will ask them the same questions in the Senate tomorrow, and the nation can see their response through the live session,” he said.

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