Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday sought an apology from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and demanded resignation of Chairman Javed Iqbal if the anti-graft body fails to prove money laundering allegations against him.
Addressing a press conference at the Punjab House in Islamabad, The former premier gave a 24-hour deadline to NAB to provide evidence. Nawaz said NAB had lost its credibility. “NAB’s vindictive approach is weakening democracy,” claimed Nawaz.
Referring to a notice taken by Iqbal on a two-year old World Bank report doing the rounds that laundered $4.9 billion to India, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid remarked that the report was being distorted to frame charges against him.
“References against me in NAB are related to baseless media report,” Nawaz said clarifying his stance adding that his media trial had become NAB’s sole mission.
He pointed out that the NAB claims were shot down by the Washington-based multilateral agency on the same day as its local office denied that allegations were levelled against the PML-N leader in its remittance report.
Answering a question regarding former PML-N members uniting with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Nawaz claimed his party leaders were being coerced and threatened with corruption cases. “It is simple unjust to pressure our lawmakers to defect,” he said. “No matter what tactics they use, the public will stand by us.”
Equating horse-trading to treason, he said those involved are wrong to assume that they will not be apprehended. “Political parties who still believe in democracy exist,” asserted Nawaz.
When asked if those engaging in sit-ins were support of ‘alien’ forces, Nawaz said although ‘alien’ forces were invisible, they will face forces of the ‘Earth’ – “The forces of Earth will be victorious.”
Speaking about the references filed by NAB in accountability court, Nawaz said he had appeared in over 70 hearings yet there was no verdict. “No corruption or kickbacks claim has been proved against me. But those with histories of corruption have been spared.”
Alleging that his disqualification was predetermined, he stated that NAB’s press release was an episode of an upcoming accountability drama. “They deposed me for an Iqama when they could not prove corruption. I have faced over 70 hearings – they are hunting for something that can be used to send me packing for good.”