The PML-N's Central Executive Committee (CEC) on Friday strongly condemned National Accountability Bureau Chairman Javed Iqbal for allegedly ordering an inquiry against Nawaz Sharif for laundering money to India "based on an extremely irresponsible and totally false media report".
The condemnation came a day after Nawaz, referring to a NAB notification stating that it was looking into allegations that he laundered money to the tune of $4.9 billion to India, termed the watchdog's inquiries "pre-poll rigging" and demanded that Iqbal provide evidence to support 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 its chairman should resign," he had said.
NAB had notified it was "examining complaints" that the foreign exchange reserves of India increased by $4.9bn, as 'verified' by a World Bank report, because of Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif's money laundering activities.
The World Bank had responded to the notification clarifying that "the report [in question] does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals”.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has also stated in the past that the estimates shown in the World Bank report in question are based on "assumptions" which do not reflect reality.
NAB Chairman Iqbal, without explicitly mentioning the case, had later defended his department's conduct and said that it would keep operating as usual even if some find its decisions upsetting.
The PML-N CEC's statement issued after a five-hour-long meeting today states that the party's leadership supports Sharif's demand that the NAB chairman provide evidence supporting his allegations at the earliest or resign from his post.
The leadership has further alleged that the NAB chairman also denies that the grounds of its inquiry have been refuted by the World Bank and the SBP.
The leadership has also unanimously concluded that each person responsible for propagating the "lie" must be unmasked, and that all steps must be taken to prosecute them under Pakistani law.
They also pledged that they would foil "every conspiracy and tactic against Nawaz Sharif through constitutional, legal and democratic struggle, which will continue until all stains of falsehood are erased through a show of massive public support," statement issued by the party read.
Resolution for Iqbal's resignation tabled in assembly
A resolution demanding the resignation of the NAB chairman was also tabled in the Punjab Assembly by PML-N's Hina Parvez Butt today.
The resolution stated that there was a loss of confidence in the chairman NAB as he had, on the basis of a false report, issued a notification against Sharif.
It should be stated for the record that the notification in question had stated that NAB was examining complaints that the Sharif brothers had laundered money and had not made a direct accusation against them.
"This makes it clear that Sharif is being a victim of revenge," Butt's resolution stated.
"The chairman NAB has levied ridiculous and absurd allegations that Sharif has laundered Rs4.98bn to India," the text added, "whereas the WB report clearly does not mention money laundering or Sharif's name."
No organisation or leader has the authority to violate the basic rights of any Pakistani citizen, the resolution stated.
The resolution demanded that the NAB chairman immediately resign from his post and there be an investigation into his alleged misuse of authority.
It also called for the chief justice to take suo motu notice of the case.
It is expected that the resolution will be taken up in the next assembly session on Monday.
With additional reporting by Arif Malik.