PPP lawmakers quit NA body after it summons NAB chairman

  • NA Standing Committee on Law and Justice summons NAB chief Javed Iqbal over probe against Nawaz Sharif on basis of bogus media reports 

ISLAMABAD: Two members of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) that are part of  the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice, on Tuesday, resigned from the committee after it summoned  National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal to explain initiation of an inquiry against Nawaz Sharif over bogus media reports that pertained to money laundering.

In their resignations submitted to the committee chairman, lawmakers Naveed Qamar and Shugufta Jamani maintained that such step would weaken the anti-graft body.

Naveed Qamar claimed that the NAB chief was being summoned for investigating the corruption in Punjab, adding that such attitude was unacceptable to the opposition. He further claimed that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers Ali Muhammad Khan and Arif Alvi might resign from the body as well which would leave the ruling PML-N in a lurch.

Earlier this month, the NAB had issued a press release, stating that an inquiry has been launched against the former premier over alleged money laundering of $4.9 billion by Sharif to India which had led to an uproar across the country.

According to media reports on Tuesday, the committee, to be chaired by PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] lawmaker Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf, has asked the NAB chief to appear before it on Wednesday. The decision to summon Iqbal was taken on a point of order submitted by Rana Hayat of the PML-N.

The NAB and its chairman had come under fire from all quarters after they announced to launch an investigation into alleged money laundering by Nawaz Sharif. The allegations were refuted by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and World Bank in separate press releases.

Nawaz and his colleagues did not let NAB chief off the hook easily as both, the former PM and incumbent PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, lashed out at him for launching a flimsy probe. Nawaz gave a 24-hour ultimatum to the anti-graft chief to explain his statement or tender his resignation.

The NAB chief, however, refused to apologise, and said that “the bureau wouldn’t deter from its task even if it irks some quarters”.