When government says that not a single case against PPP and PML-N leaders has been initiated by it, there is grain of truth in it. The PML-N and PPP leaders accused the government for using NAB for the political victimisation of its opponents. The opposition parties have condemned the arrest of Maryam Nawaz in a NAB case today and termed it as a political victimisation and an effort to silence the opposition.
Both PML-N and PPP now declare NAB laws as black and draconian laws. But no effort was made by both parties to change the laws and to establish an independent accountability commission for across the board accountability.
When in power, both PPP and PML-N tried to control the NAB and tried to stop the inquiries initiated against them. They never asked the NAB to conduct independent and transparent investigations on the allegations come up against the sitting rulers. But they used their position to delay or stop the investigation.
Just take the example of Chaudhry Sugar mills case in which Maryam Nawaz arrested by NAB today. The investigation was started in 2018 when PML-N was in power. The State Bank’s Financial Monitoring Unit reported this transaction to NAB.
Maryam had appeared before NAB on July 31 to record her statement in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. The statement was regarding ‘dubious’ business transactions of the Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) of which she was one of the major shareholders. She was given a questionnaire by NAB investigators. The NAB asked her to appear again on 08 August. But she did not appear before the NAB team and preferred to visit her father.
The leaders should respect the laws and rules. Nobody is above the law. But unfortunately, the ruling elite in Pakistan consider itself above the law. It raised the slogans of rule of law but rarely followed it.
Now Maryam and other PML-N leaders are saying that Maryam’s arrest is a politically motivated act of NAB. But on the other hand NAB tells you different story. According to the NAB, investigation in this case started in January 2018 during the PML-N government. The financial monitoring unit of State Bank reported to NAB that a huge suspicious transaction involving billions of rupees in the M/s Chaudhry Sugar Mills Ltd under Anti-Money Laundering Act.
The NAB started the inquiry in October 2018 detected that Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shahbaz Sharif and the family of the late Abbas Sharif are shareholders in the company along with some foreigners of the UAE and the UK.
The PM’s special assistant on accountability Shahzad Akbar provided details to the media in a press conference. He recently claimed to have collected new evidence against Maryam Nawaz in this investigation. He said the following, “huge investments were made in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills from 2001 to 2017 in billions of rupees in the name of the foreigners issuing shares in millions to them, later on the same shares of the company were transferred back to Maryam Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif at various times without paying any consideration which led to the conclusion that names of foreigners were used as proxies to make huge investments in the company for the reason that Sharif family did not have white money for investment.”
Shahzad Akbar appears in the press conferences on every second day. His appearances and allegations through press conferences are not helping the cause of the accountability. It’s a clear media trial and propaganda. Whatever evidence NAB and authorities have in NAB cases should be produced in NAB court instead of being used for media trial. There are other ways of justifying one’s job.
NAB had re-summoned Maryam on Aug 8 (today), and asked her to provide details of her shareholdings in the CSM, details of financial relations with foreign nationals — Saeed Said bin Jabar al Suweidi, a UAE national; Sheikh Zakauddin, a UK national; Hani Ahmad Jamjoon, a Saudi national; and Naseer Abdullah Lootah, a UAE national. She was also asked to provide details of remittances/telegraphic transfers sent and received by her from abroad.
The NAB has claimed that she failed to provide the evidence. NAB will have to prove its allegations of money laundering in the court of law. The opposition should prepare itself for more cases.
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17 November, 2019