ISLAMABAD: The Natio­nal Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday appro­ved filing of a fresh reference against former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Yousuf Raza Gilani and former president Asif Ali Zardari over alleged misuse of official gifts given by other countries.

On the other hand, the anti-graft watchdog closed a case against Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari — better known as Zulfi Bukhari — for lack of credible evidence.

These decisions were taken in a NAB’s executive board meeting (EBM) presided over by its chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal on Thursday.

“The EBM authorised filing corruption reference against former Prime Ministers Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, former President Asif Ali Zardari,” said an official press release issued by the bureau.

“The suspects have been involved in getting gifts and vehicles from government in violation of rules and regulations, which inflicted losses to the national exchequer,” the statement added.

Another reference will be filed against Khawaja Anwer Majeed and Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed in fake bank account cases.

The meeting also approved filing of a reference against former ambassador Kamran Shafi and former high commissioner in the United Kingdom Wajid Shams-ul-Hassan for inflicting losses of $27,000 and 28,000 pounds, respectively, on the national exchequer.

The NAB board also approved closure of an inquiry against officers/ officials of Punjab Thermal Power Limited, Faisalabad Industrial Estate Develop­ment, Zulfiqar Bukhari, son of Wajid Bukhari, and management, officers/officials of Lahore Knowledge Park Company, due to lack of incriminating evidence.

The statement said NAB’s policy was sharing the details of decisions made by EBM with the public from many years. The main aim of sharing decisions is only to share information, not to hurt or insult anyone.

“The inquiries, investigations are initiated on suspicions and therefore the allegations must not be considered as final. The final decision about initiating pro­cee­dings against a suspect is taken after knowing both sides of the picture,” it added.

The EBM accorded approval to filing of a corruption reference against Abdullah Alvi, honourary secretary of the State Bank of Pakistan Staff Cooper­ative Housing Society, and others for cheating people and devouring their money amounting to Rs7.8 million.

The EBM also approved conduct of four investigations against various entities and persons, including Nishat Chaunian Limited, Nepra and Central Power Purchasing Agency, officers of Sindh Health Depart­ment, programme manager of Hepatitis Prevention and Control Programme, government of Sindh, and others, Rehmat Baloch, health minister of Balochistan, and others, Ejaz Hussain Jakhrani, former MNA, and others.

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2020