NAB chief asks to be excused from appearing before NA committee today

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ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairperson Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal has asked to be excused from appearing before the National Assembly’s standing committee for Law and Justice over the money laundering probe against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, sources said.

The NAB chief had been ordered to appear before the committee today, in person, and give a briefing on the probe into allegations of money laundering against the deposed prime minister.

Justice (retd) Iqbal shared that he received the notice for the appearance in the morning, adding that he has meetings planned for the day and requested the committee to set an appropriate time for his appearance.

However, the committee, which had called NAB chief after taking notice of a point of order raised by PML-N assembly member Rana Hayat, refused to accept the excuse.

The committee directed the NAB chief to review his decision and sent all its correspondence on the matter to the National Assembly speaker.

On May 8, the anti-graft body had ordered an inquiry against Nawaz and others for allegedly laundering $4.9 billion to India. According to a NAB statement, the chairman took notice of a media report which made the claims citing a World Bank report.

However, the World Bank clarified that its report did not mention names or amounts, neither alleged money laundering.

In a press release issued on September 21, 2016, the State Bank of Pakistan had rejected the estimates of $4.9 billion remittances from Pakistan to India.

“This number is given in Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016 prepared by the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD).”

The State Bank press release added that the Factbook data on bilateral remittance flows were estimates and not the actual flows which are based on a number of assumptions about the migrant stock, per worker income, etc.

“The methodology used to estimate these numbers is based on a World Bank’s Working Paper by Ratha, Dilip, and William Shaw ( South-South migration and remittances. No. 102. World Bank Publications, 2007). This methodology has serious issues, particularly in case of Pakistan, as also acknowledged by the authors themselves stating that “Interpreting the meaning of migrant stocks also presents some difficulties. Pakistanis in India and Russians in Ukraine became migrants following partition of the original country.”

The State Bank thus concluded that the study was clearly flawed as the migrants at the time of Indo-Pak partition in 1947 had become Pakistani citizens. The State Bank categorically rejected such estimates as there were contrary to facts and did not make sense.