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Give proof of 'shameless' allegations in 24 hours or resign, Nawaz tells NAB chairman

Updated May 10, 2018

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Former PM Nawaz Sharif addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Photo by Javed Hussain
Former PM Nawaz Sharif addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Photo by Javed Hussain

PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif shot back at the National Accountability Bureau on Thursday, saying that the watchdog's allegations against him were "shameful".

Sharif was referring to NAB's probe against him, involving alleged money laundering of $4.9 billion to India.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the ousted prime minister said the cases being heard against him by an accountability court are also based on unverified media reports, resulting from the Panama Papers leaks.

Editorial: NAB’s flawed pursuit

"I have appeared approximately 70 times in the bogus accountability cases," he said, adding that NAB and its chairman have lost all credibility.

"You shall remember that I was not named in the Panama Papers but whatever happened is in front of you."

He claimed that the joint investigation team made by the Supreme Court could not prove corruption of a "single penny" against him.

"But it had been decided to oust me and so an iqama, a visa, was used to disqualify me."

Presenting a distorted version of World Bank report is a part of the same conspiracy against him, Sharif alleged.

"Does NAB not know that the World Bank had issued a clarification two years ago and said there had been no money laundering? Does it not know that reputed newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, Dawn, Business Recorder had reported on the issue?"

"Despite all of this, using an unknown column in an unknown newspaper published four months ago, was used to begin an investigation [against me]."

Terming NAB's inquiries against PML-N leaders "pre-poll rigging", Sharif demanded that the NAB chairman bring forward evidence to prove the allegations against him or resign.

"It is NAB's duty to answer all my questions within 24 hours and address these reservations. Failing to do so, NAB should apologise to the nation and the chairman resign."

The disqualified prime minister thanked the media which he said had conducted a "post-mortem" of the issue hours after NAB ordered the inquiry against him and presented the facts.

According to NAB, the World Bank’s migration and remittance book released in September 2016 carried information that foreign exchange reserves of India increased by $4.9bn 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 “the report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals”, the State Bank of Pakistan said the estimates showed in the WB report were based on “assumptions” which did not reflect the reality.

'Who is asking our MNAs to quit?'

Sharif alleged during the press conference that some forces had been pressuring his party's MNAs to quit and contest election as independents or join the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and questioned who these elements were.

Sharif said some of his party's MNAs who do not wish to leave the party had told him they were approached by people to get their loyalties changed.

"These are not NAB people," Sharif claimed, adding that people who refuse to comply are threatened with NAB cases.

Sharif said some of these cases have already been instituted and wondered who the "celestial beings" had a nexus with. He said there is no provision in NAB law that permits lodging cases on the instruction of someone else or getting someone to change their loyalties.

In a reference to estranged PML-N lawmakers who had formed the Junoobi Punjab Suba Mahaz (JPSM) and merged with the PTI yesterday, Sharif said those lawmakers did not really want to join the Imran Khan-led party and suggested that they were forced into doing so.

Answering a question, Sharif said he fully agreed with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's speech in the National Assembly, in which he stressed that NAB should sort out its matters for the future rather than digging up old cases.

He said the thought hadn't even crossed his mind that he should approach the president for clemency if he is convicted in the corruption cases.

"Even if a sentence is announced against me today, I will not go to anyone to apologise or request mercy."

Asked who he was referring to when he claimed he was up against an extraterrestrial species or aliens (khalai makhlooq), Sharif said the celestial species is "invisible" and has been present in the country for past 70 years.

"The [celestial] species is now going to have a face-off with earthly beings," he said, adding that the latter will defeat the former.

Once again questioning the corruption trial against him, Sharif said the cases would have been decided within 10 days if there had been any credible evidence.

"I think they want to drag the case until qayamat [day of judgment] or till they fabricate something to get me convicted."