ISLAMABAD: Taking notice of a misleading newspaper article based on a ‘flawed’ report of the World Bank, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has started verification whether former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was involved in sending $4.9 billion to India.

According to NAB, World Bank’s migration and remittance book released in September 2016 carried information that foreign exchange reserves of India increased by $4.9 billion after receiving the huge amount sent through money laundering, inflicting losses to Pakistan’s national kitty.

While the World Bank promptly responded to the NAB move and stated that “the report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals”, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said the estimates showed in the WB report were based on “assumptions” which did not reflect the reality.

Soon after the SBP’s clarification, NAB issued a brief statement and questioned: “If the World Bank report is not correct, why they have not changed the figure of 4.9 billion dollars from Pakistan in its report?”

Talking to Dawn, a spokesman for the SBP said the bank had issued clarification twice in the past — in 2015 and 2016 — rejecting the WB report.

The WB’s assessment was called a “flawed” one because those who migrated from India and became Pakistan citizens after 1947 did not send back remittances.

The fresh clarification of the WB said its report was an effort to estimate migration and remittances numbers across the world. The report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individual.

A WB spokesman said: “We would also like to refer to a statement by the State Bank of Pakistan which rejects estimates of $4.9 billion in remittances from Pakistan to India on Sept 21, 2016.”

The WB provided an explanation of the methodology used in the report and the official remittances numbers.

NAB is likely to summon an SBP official to get their point of view on the issue.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2018

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