ISLAMABAD: Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif served the incumbent chairman of the anti-graft body with a defamation notice following allegations of money laundering levelled against the former prime minister.
Munawar Iqbal Duggal, Nawaz's counsel, authored and submitted the legal notice to Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal.
The notice demanded an apology within 14 days from the NAB chief over the false allegations. The notice also highlights the State Bank of Pakistan's earlier dismissal of such allegations and the World Bank's 2016 report on the subject.
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"You [Javed Iqbal], therefore, have fourteen days from the issuance of this Notice to; Publish a comprehensive and proper apology, and a retraction in two English daily newspapers and two Urdu daily newspapers with nation-wide circulation and also to broadcast your apology and retraction in the same manner and with the same prominence as the earlier transmission, and pay a sum of Rs1,000,000,000 (Rs1 billion) in damages on account of defamatory publications and for losses caused," the notice reads.
The notice further states that the press release "exposed Nawaz to unjust criticism, ridicule and dislike from all quarters".
A lifetime of integrity, patriotism and dedication has been seriously tarnished by irresponsible and malicious publication transmitted on different TV channels and in the press, which apart from causing irreparable damage to his reputation, has caused our client severe mental torture, agony, pain and bad name to him, the legal notice added further.
The notice also points to the source of NAB's 'investigation'; an Urdu daily, which according to the notice, "is neither a leading newspaper nor widely circulated or read".
"Failing the above, we have instructions to initiate civil and criminal proceedings against you and your institutions for maladministration under relevant laws," the notice warns.
On May 12, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking removal of the NAB chairman for “leveling allegations of money laundering against Nawaz Sharif”.
The petition filed by Noor Muhammad Awan under Article 184(3) of the Constitution prayed that the court should remove the NAB chairman for “damaging the reputation of a political leader without any cogent material and causing reckless loss to the institution as he could not hold office due to partiality and unable to work with fairness”.
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The petition reads that politicians generally level baseless allegations against their rivals to secure their political goals and motives. “The removal [of NAB chairman] is inevitable to meet the ends of justice,” it added.
On May 8, the NAB chairman, taking notice of money laundering allegations, ordered an investigation against former premier Nawaz Sharif.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had categorically rejected a report that suggests an outflow of $4.9 billion from Pakistan to India as remittances, terming the report contrary to the facts.
In a press release issued by the country’s top anti-graft body, the chairman took notice of the reports on news channels claiming that Sharif laundered $4.9 billion to India.