National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Javed Iqbal on Monday ordered the cancellation of summons issued by the accountability watchdog to the wife and daughters of PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif two days earlier in an investigation regarding money laundering and accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income.
Iqbal issued the directive during a visit to the NAB Lahore office today, a press release issued by the bureau said. It said the NAB chairman was briefed on "mega corruption cases" and cases concerning the Sharif family by the director general of NAB Lahore.
"The chairman NAB has decided that he himself will directly supervise the cases regarding the Sharif family," the statement said.
According to the press release, Iqbal ordered the cancellation of the summons notices issued by NAB Lahore to Nusrat Shahbaz, the wife of Sharif, and to two of Sharif's married daughters, Rabia Imran and Javaria Ali. He instead directed that the three women be mailed questionnaires to provide the requisite information to NAB regarding the relevant cases.
Sharif, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, his wife Nusrat and daughters Rabia and Javaria were directed to appear before a combined investigation team at NAB’s Lahore office next week to record their statements in a money laundering and income beyond means investigation.
The NAB move to issue the summons had drawn a strong reaction not only from the PML-N but also from the PPP as both parties saw a political motive behind it.
While the PML-N had said that NAB officials raided the residences of Sharif’s family, the anti-graft watchdog claimed that only a couple of its members had visited the family’s houses (in Model Town and Defence) to deliver the summons.
According to the NAB press release, the female members of the Sharif family will be mailed the relevant questionnaires today.
The steps ordered by the NAB chairman are indicative of the fact that "NAB fully believes in the respect, honour, dignity and [the sanctity of] the four walls of women," the statement said.
It quoted chairman Iqbal as saying that NAB was strictly following a policy of "accountability for all" and that it has no affiliation with any political party.
"All accused are equal in the eyes of NAB; nonetheless, all 'mega corruption' cases will be taken to their logical conclusion on the basis of merit and only merit as soon as possible," the handout stressed, adding that NAB is an autonomous institution which performs its duties without giving in to any pressure.