LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his two sons have decided not to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) till his petition seeking a review of the Supreme Court’s verdict that disqualified him from office is decided.
The former premier and his sons — Hussain and Hasan Nawaz — did not visit the NAB’s Lahore office on Friday where a team from the bureau’s Rawalpindi office waited for them until 3pm so that they could join investigations into the Al-Azizia Steel Mills case.
However, leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have linked Mr Sharif’s refusal to appear before NAB with the apex court’s decision on his review petition.
“A senior counsel for Nawaz Sharif has informed NAB that his review petition seeking a stay of the bureau’s investigation into the references against him is pending with the Supreme Court,” PML-N leader and media coordinator Mohammad Mehdi told Dawn, adding that the Sharif family would decide whether they should join the NAB investigations once the Supreme Court took a decision on their petition.
He said that the Lahore High Court had earlier closed his case as nothing had been established against Mr Sharif. “Mr Sharif has faced the accountability process many times, and there is nothing new for him this time around,” he said.
A written reply had been submitted to the NAB by senior counsel Amjad Pervez, Mr Mehdi added.
Ishaq Dar summoned by bureau on Aug 23
“Neither of the three [members of the Sharif family] joined the NAB investigations nor did they intimate [the NAB] about the reason for not showing up,” a NAB official told Dawn.
He said NAB had summoned the disqualified PM and his sons to appear before the combined investigation team to record their statement in view of the Supreme Court’s decision.
The official said that the NAB was set to start proceedings in accordance with the SC order to file references against them within six weeks of the decision. He said the bureau was bound to implement the apex court’s decision against Mr Sharif and his sons in letter and spirit.
He added that the NAB would issue a second summons to them in two weeks, as per its laid down procedures.
Separately, there were reports that NAB’s Lahore office had also sought details from some government departments regarding assets owned by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
Sources in the NAB said they had approached the Punjab Excise and Taxation Department and various banks to seek details of Mr Dar’s property, including cars owned by him and his four children, and various other financial transactions. The NAB official added that the process of seeking details of Mr Dar’s assets from provincial government departments was under way. In a letter sent to the department, NAB has requested verification of the registration numbers of the vehicles owned by Mr Dar and his children.
The NAB has requested the Excise director general to depute an officer not below the rank of grade 17 to facilitate the ongoing investigations against the finance minister and his children.
The NAB has also asked the director general to send an officer to the bureau’s office on Aug 21 with all relevant records. Mr Dar has been summoned before the NAB on Aug 23.
On July 28, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, while disqualifying Mr Sharif under Article 62(1)( f) of the Constitution, had asked the NAB to file four references against the deposed prime minister in the Rawalpindi accountability court within six weeks on the basis of material collected and referred to by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) as well as the material already available with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and NAB.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2017