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NAB team set to ‘receive’ Nawaz Sharif at Islamabad airport today

NAB team set to ‘receive’ Nawaz Sharif at Islamabad airport today

LAHORE/RAWALPINDI: Disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be “received” by a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) when he lands at Islamabad airport on Thursday morning.

The Civil Aviation Authority in response to a letter by the NAB authorities has granted access to a 10-member team, comprising NAB officials both from the Lahore and Rawalpindi region, to the plane that will be carrying Mr Sharif.

A NAB official says the action is aimed at implementing the Islamabad accountability court’s orders, which issued bailable arrest warrants for the former premier after he failed to appear before it on Oct 26 in references related to graft and having assets beyond his known sources of income.

Sources in NAB told Dawn that the bureau would not arrest Mr Sharif and the access had been sought to meet him in the VIP lounge of the airport to serve summons and complete paperwork regarding surety bonds to be presented in the court on Thursday.

They said it was a legal obligation on NAB in case of a bailable warrant to provide an opportunity to the accused so that he could get his bail before arrest.

Taking revenge in the name of accountability is unacceptable, says ousted PM before leaving UK capital

Mr Sharif’s spokesperson Dr Asif Kirmani said surety bonds had been submitted to the NAB court during the previous hearings of the references and if needed new bonds would be signed on Thursday.

The ex-PM is coming from London, where his wife is under cancer treatment, to appear before an accountability court on Nov 3.

The aggressive language used by the disqualified prime minister in a TV interview before his departure from the UK capital negated the reports that appeared in the media in the wake of a high-level meeting of the ruling PML-N in London on Monday suggesting Mr Sharif had been convinced to give up confrontation with state institutions.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, federal ministers Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal had attended the huddle.

“Taking revenge in the name of accountability is unacceptable,” the ex-PM said in the interview, putting a question mark over the ongoing accountability process against him and his family.

“What scandal have I been found involved in? What’s the issue? What’s the charge sheet?” he said in a reference to his disqualification for not mentioning in his assets declaration the salaries he didn’t receive from the UAE-based company of his son.

“Is it a Haj scandal, IPPs or NICL scandal? What’s the origin of the drama being staged in the name of accountability?”

He alleged that cases against him and his family were being fabricated and that the Panama Papers case verdict became a source of embarrassment [for the nation].

Despite all these reservations, Mr Sharif said he would appear before courts to show his respect for the judiciary notwithstanding the ailment of Begum Kulsoom, who needs his presence as per doctors’ advice.

The former first lady underwent a second round of chemotherapy in London on Wednesday.

Mr Sharif, however, made it clear that neither his supporters nor anyone else had accepted the disqualification based on Iqama and said that the “disqualification drama” hurt his feelings badly.

Claiming credit for the return of international cricket to Pakistan, he said his policies changed the country while his removal from power resulted in economic instability.

He stressed that economic prosperity and stability were dependent upon political [democratic] continuity.

The ousted prime minister had earlier appeared twice before the accountability court after his pleas for exempting him personal appearances keeping in view the ailment of his wife were rejected.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2017

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