Khawaja brothers express distrust in NAB’s Lahore head


–PML-N leaders seek transfer of ongoing NAB cases against them to ‘some other region’

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Khawaja Saad Rafique and Khawaja Salman Rafique on Sunday wrote a letter to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, seeking transfer of the ongoing investigations against them while expressing lack of trust in the bureau’s Lahore head.

An application submitted by the Khawaja brothers to the NAB chief expressed their distrust in the anti-graft watchdog and NAB Lahore DG Shahzad Saleem, blaming the official of character assassination and malicious media trial against them.

In their plea, the Khawaja brothers have mentioned that on November 8, the NAB DG “in complete disregard to the standard norms of the investigation process, participated in various talk shows”.

“He [DG NAB] went on to make partisan, partial and prejudicial statements pertaining to the investigations since pending and insisted upon his predisposed and jaundiced opinion [the applicants are guilty],” the application read.

“The DG did not have the authority to make above sweeping remarks at this juncture when the matter is still pending and particularly he is investing the same,” they added.

Rafique claimed that they were facing maliciously motivated inquiries and mentioned that no credible evidence could be collected against the applicants to attract the mischief of any offence under the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999. “The investigation teams were bent upon to make out a case against the applicants by any means whatsoever,” the applicants claimed.

According to the application, the two believe that they would not get a fair investigation from the team working under the incumbent DG, “who has become an inimical instrument in the hands of political rivals of the applicants”.

“It is requested that the inquiries/investigations pending at [NAB] Lahore [office] may kindly be transferred to some other region to be conducted and concluded by an independent, impartial and honest investigator,” read the application.

Shahzad’s recent appearance on TV talk shows has infuriated the former ruling party and also caught NAB chairman’s notice.

Speaking to some private news channels on Thursday, the NAB Lahore head talked about inquiry and references initiated against PML-N leaders, including Khawaja brothers and party’s president Shehbaz Sharif, for their alleged role in various graft cases.

Taking notice of the situation, NAB chairman Iqbal later sought the record of Shahzad’s media interactions from the PEMRA.