PML-N leader terms NAB chief’s tenure extension ‘unconstitutional’
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz questioned on Wednesday the “silence” of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Supreme Court on the Pandora Papers.
Speaking to reporters after a hearing in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the PML-N leader, in reference to the action taken against the Sharif family in the afermath of the Panama Papers, asked where was the “Panama bench, the JIT [Joint Investigation Team] and NAB” in the wake of the Pandora Papers leaks.
She asked where the petitioner was who took the Panama case to the court. “The entire nation is looking for that petitioner and the Panama JIT,” she said, adding that “former chief justice Asif Saeed Khosa told Imran Khan to bring the Panama case to him as the decision had already been made”.
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According to Maryam, “A retired army officer quizzed her when she appeared before the Panama JIT in 2018 while all officers of NAB and other agencies stayed silent.”
Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Imran Khan over the formation of a commission to probe Pandora Papers, she said the prime minister has “refused to reveal the details of toshakhana (state treasury) but has agreed to form a commission to investigate his ATMs named in the Pandora Papers”.
She said: “PM Imran used to claim that Nawaz Sharif played with ‘umpire’, but Imran Khan himself took help from the ‘umpire’ to overthrow an elected government.”
The PML-N leader further added that, “I am still waiting for Justice Khosa to come to me and say he will take up the Pandora Papers case.” “Where is the Panama bench today, and NAB that filed cases against Nawaz and me,” she said, further questioning “why the anti-corruption spirit is not visible today”.
Speaking about the sentence in the Avenfield case, Maryam said her case was “politically engineered” as the incumbent chief of the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan “made sure that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and I remained in jail till the 2018 elections”.
“Had we gotten bail before the elections, their entire work of two years would have gone to waste,” she quipped. According to Maryam, “The case against Sharifs was completely baseless as it was made and tried by the incumbent intelligence chief.”
In a comment on media reports that Maryam Nawaz “maligned” the state institutions, she said, “The state institutions of Pakistan should be above any type of controversy and suspicions.”
“An individual’s obedience for personal gains should not be termed as an institution,” the PML-N leader said, adding, “Institutions belong to the nation, not a single individual. When an individual tries to hide behind his institution that means he has no answers for transgressing his authority.”
She further questioned that, “If the intelligence chief is involved in political engineering, influencing judges and courts decisions, and abuses his power, does that increase the prestige of the institution.”
Maryam said she was not only talking about herself, but the judiciary as well, whose reputation was being “tarnished”. She alleged former chief justice Saqib Nisar “violated the sanctity of judiciary and gave verdicts under pressure”.
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“Does the judiciary want to take decisions under pressure?” she asked. “The judges of the Supreme Court had also expressed concerns in a meeting over the growing impression that the judges are under pressure,” she claimed.
Maryam Nawaz also termed the extension in the tenure of NAB chief “unconstitutional and illegal”. The PML-N leader said NAB Chairperson Javed Iqbal was “given the extension as a result of a deal”.
The PML-N VP claimed that the NAB chief was given the extension in return for action against the rivals of Prime Minister Imran Khan. She added that this extension will be rejected by the courts.