NAB dismisses Maryam’s allegations as pack of lies

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday dismissed the recent statement of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, by terming it an attempt to halt the ongoing investigations against the Sharif family in Chaudhry Sugar Mills and money laundering cases.

Responding to allegations levelled by Maryam Nawaz against the NAB after it moved Lahore High Court (LHC) to seek cancellation of her bail, the bureau in its declaration said that Maryam tried to create differences among the institutions.

“Statements against NAB and judiciary had been given in the past and the attack over NAB Lahore office last year is evidence of it.”

The NAB Lahore office was pelted with stones under an organised plan. Terming the statements of Maryam Nawaz as a pure lie, the anti-graft body, in its press statement, has asserted that the PML-N leader tried to give the impression that NAB cases are politically motivated.

“The NAB is an independent institution and striving to eliminate corruption from the country without any discrimination,” said the statement, adding mega corruption cases will be brought to a logical end.

The primary purpose of these statements was to create obstacles in, and influence, the investigation of cases related to corruption and money laundering against the Sharif family besides promoting conditions that were detrimental to peace, the handout said.

“Through such statements, Maryam Nawaz had been trying to get herself acquitted in ongoing investigations against herself and bring the institutions to a point of confrontation,” it said.

The bureau claimed that Maryam had “challenged law and order by giving inciteful speeches”, citing the violence that had erupted during her appearance at the NAB Lahore office in August last year.

It recalled that a first information report (FIR) had also been registered against Maryam and party workers for the clash in which many people, including some officials, were injured.

However, NAB had decided not to summon Maryam “for a while, keeping in view the overall political situation, her political activities and national interests”.

It claimed that Maryam had taken “undue advantage” of the delay by “constantly challenging the accountability process”. An effort was also made during this time to “make fun of the respectable courts’ past judgements”, it added.

The PML-N leader’s statements outside accountability courts at different times showed “a plan of extremism”, NAB said. This was akin to giving the public a “false impression”, according to which NAB’s summoning and questioning of Maryam were given a political colour, the press release stated.

“NAB considers it important to clarify that Maryam did not only discuss the institution’s petition in the court in a very wrong way but tried to distort the facts.

“NAB is a national institution that believes in taking constitutional and legal steps on the basis of justice and merit according to its mandate and will continue to do so. NAB is not affiliated with any political party and all its steps are associated with the benefit of Pakistan and its people,” it concluded.

On Monday, the LHC had served a notice on PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz in a NAB request seeking to cancel her bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) reference.

In November 2019, the high court granted post-arrest bail to Maryam in the reference but directed her to surrender her passport as the prosecution feared she might flee the country.

Last week, the dirty money watchdog challenged the bail in the court, adopting a stance that the PML-N leader is taking “undue benefit” of her freedom and has withdrawn her cooperation in the probe into her assets despite being offered a reprieve.

During the proceedings on Monday, a NAB prosecutor, Faisal Raza Bokhari, had told the court that Maryam is out on bail and is issuing statements targeting state institutions.

Maryam, he had said, is not cooperating with the agency in its investigations into her assets and has not provided relevant documents required for the probe.

Subsequently, the court had directed Maryam to submit her response by April 7 and adjourned the proceedings

‘NAB NOT AUTHORISED TO JUDGE MY STATEMENTS’:

Speaking to reporters the same day, before leaving from her Jati Umra residence for the hearing, Maryam had hit back at the agency for “making an issue about my statements”.

“[…] your job was to supposedly stop rampant corruption. Now that you’ve failed in that [sic], have you changed your responsibilities?” she had said.

Since institutions such as the military and the courts had their own spokespersons, who had appointed NAB as their spokesperson, she had asked.

NAB had in its petition submitted to the high court on Saturday had accused Maryam of non-compliance with its directives. In her talk on Monday, she had said the bureau had uttered a “great lie” about her obstructing the investigation.

“I presented myself at the NAB office for the hearing,” she had said, adding that the institution resorted to delaying tactics and did not attend to her.

“For three months on the pretext of investigations you kept me in NAB and what did you do?” Maryam had asked, adding that nothing but trivial and unrelated questions had been asked of her.

She had claimed NAB had still not been able to successfully register a reference against her over the charges she had been arrested for.

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