Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday sent a legal notice to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman, retired Justice Javed Iqbal, for insinuating that money laundering to the tune of $4.9 billion may have been done under Sharif's supervision.
The notice was in reference to a NAB release issued after a news item published by a local newspaper incorrectly referenced the World Bank's 2016 Migration and Remittance Book to say that India's foreign exchange reserves increased by $4.9 billion due to huge cash inflows from Pakistan attributable to money laundering by the Sharif family.
In Sharif's notice to the NAB chairman, sent through his lawyer Barrister Manzoor Dogal, Nawaz described the press release as an attempt to influence the upcoming elections. He demanded that Iqbal tender an apology for his "insulting" press release and pay Rs1 billion as damages within the next 14 days.
The PML-N supreme leader further demanded that the NAB chairman's apology be published in all leading Urdu and English newspapers as well.
According to the legal notice, if the NAB chairman does not tender an apology or does not pay damages, legal action will be taken against him.
On May 17, a different lawyer, A.K. Dogar, had sent a legal notice to Iqbal on Nawaz's behalf. In that notice, the NAB chief was asked to either apologise or resign from his post as NAB chief.
Taking notice of a misleading newspaper article based on a ‘flawed’ report of the World Bank, NAB had said it has started looking into whether ousted premier Sharif was involved in the alleged laundering of $4.9 billion to India.
The World Bank had promptly responded and stated that “the report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals”, while the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had said the estimates showed in the WB report were based on “assumptions” which did not reflect reality.
Soon after the SBP clarification, NAB had issued a brief statement, asking: “If the World Bank report is not correct, why they have not changed the figure of $4.9bn from Pakistan in its report?”
Talking to Dawn, a spokesman for the SBP had said the bank had issued a clarification twice in the past — in 2015 and 2016 — rejecting the WB report.
The WB’s assessment was described as “flawed” as it assumed that all those who had migrated from India and became Pakistan citizens after 1947 sent back remittances to India.
The fresh clarification of the WB said its report was an effort to estimate migration and remittances numbers across the world.