Pakistan Prime Minister Calls Money-Laundering Probe Against Nawaz Sharif "Pre-Poll Rigging"

The World Bank has denied as "incorrect" the Pakistani media reports that cited its report to allege that Nawaz Sharif laundered USD 4.9 billion to India.

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Pakistan Prime Minister Calls Money-Laundering Probe Against Nawaz Sharif 'Pre-Poll Rigging'

Nawaz Sharif, 68, is facing three corruption cases in the accountability court. (File)


Islamabad:  Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi today blasted the head of Pakistan's anti-graft body in parliament for launching a probe against ousted premier Nawaz Sharif for allegedly laundering USD 4.9 billion to India, saying his action amounted to "pre-poll rigging".

The World Bank has denied as "incorrect" the Pakistani media reports that cited its report to allege that Nawaz Sharif laundered USD 4.9 billion to India.

Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), yesterday ordered a probe against the embattled former prime minister after reports of his alleged involvement in the money laundering emerged in the media here.

While speaking in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Abbasi said that a serious allegation has been levelled against the former prime minister.

"In the current [political] conditions, this falls within the ambit of pre-poll rigging," he was quoted as saying by Geo TV.

He noted that general elections will be held in Pakistan in two months and the NAB is making allegations that the former premier was sending money to India.

"This is embarrassing for us all," he said.

"The NAB head should be summoned before parliament and reveal where he got this information from," Mr Abbasi fumed.

He also favoured setting up a special committee to probe the matter.

"What will be the country's future if institutions level such serious allegations against its politicians? If an institution can make such allegations, then it must be investigated all that is happening in it," Mr Abbasi said.

The truth should be brought out before the people, he said.

The premier also said that the accountability court is hearing cases against Nawaz and his family.

Nawaz Sharif, 68, is facing three corruption cases in the accountability court following the Supreme Court's verdict in the Panama Papers case.

"We don't expect justice from the court. We don't see justice being dispensed," he added.

Highlighting NAB's "bias" against Nawaz Sharif, the premier quoted the saying, "Justice should not only be done but seen to be done".

Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir also slammed the actions of the NAB in the National Assembly.

Mr Dastgir demanded a probe against NAB's internal workings and processes of determining investigations.

Pakistan's Supreme Court had disqualified Nawaz Sharif last year, forcing the three-time prime minister to resign. He has also been disqualified from holding public office for life.

Nawaz Sharif has dismissed the corruption charges as politically motivated. If convicted in the three corruption cases, he could be jailed.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the NAB probe against his brother, Nawaz Sharif should be investigated to determine who is behind the move.

Shehbaz Sharif, who is also president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N after Nawaz Sharif's disqualification, said the NAB inquiry announcement has cast a bad light on the anti-graft body.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the World Bank in a statement said, "In the past day, there have been media reports citing the World Bank's Remittances and Migration Report of 2016. These media reports were incorrect."

The World Bank's Remittances and Migration Report is an effort by the World Bank to estimate migration and remittances numbers across the world, it said.

"The report does not include any mention of money laundering nor does it name any individuals," it clarified.

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