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NAB chairman seeks more time to appear before NA committee

NAB chairman seeks more time to appear before NA committee

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has sought more time for the bureau's chairman to appear before the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Law and Justice, where he was asked to appear on Wednesday to give an explanation over the bureau’s move to initiate an inquiry into alleged money laundering to India by PML-N’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif.

Accepting the request submitted by NAB's representative Irfan Naeem Mangi, the NA committee asked the chairman to appear before it on May 22.

The NA committee headed by ruling PML-N lawmaker from Sahiwal Chaudhry Mohammad Ashraf had summoned the NAB chief hours after the issue was raised by Rana Hayat Khan while speaking on a point of order in the house and was referred to it by former law minister Zahid Hamid who was presiding over the session at that time.

Last week, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had criticised NAB on the floor of the National Assembly for its “faux pas” over the alleged $4.9 billion money laundering to India by Sharif.

According to NAB, the World Bank’s migration and remittance book released in September 2016 carried information that foreign exchange reserves of India increased by $4.9bn after receiving the huge amount sent through money laundering, inflicting losses to Pakistan’s national kitty.

While the World Bank promptly responded to the NAB move and stated “the report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals”, the State Bank of Pakistan said the estimates showed in the WB report were based on “assumptions” which did not reflect the reality.

Lashing out at the NAB chairman for ordering a probe merely on the basis of a media report, the prime minister had asked NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq to constitute a special committee to summon the NAB chairman and seek an explanation.

Meanwhile, a meeting of PML-N's leaders at Punjab House condemned non-appearance of the NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal before the committee.

Read: The 4.9 billion-dollar blunder

The NAB's announcement had stirred controversy after it was found to be based on a flawed World Bank report.

PML-N's supreme leader Nawaz Sharif had called for the NAB chairman to either apologise for the blunder or resign.

Iqbal, however, has remained adamant in continuing his work as the bureau's head.

"NAB is not in panic and is not afraid," he had said, brushing aside criticism of its decision.

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