Pak anti-graft body orders probe into Sharif’s ‘money laundering to India’
Almost two years after Pakistan’s central bank dismissed a report that estimated remittances from Pakistan to India at $4.9 billion, the country’s anti-graft watchdog ordered an inquiry against former premier Nawaz Sharif on the basis of a media report that cited the old study.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) ordered the inquiry against Sharif and other officials for the alleged laundering of $4.9 billion to India. A NAB statement said the bureau’s chairman had taken notice of a media report that made this claim.
NAB did not name the publication that carried the report but the statement claimed the amount was laundered to India’s finance ministry, leading to a rise in India’s foreign exchange reserves and affecting Pakistan. The report further alleged the money laundering was reflected in the Migration and Remittances Factbook of 2016.
However, the State Bank of Pakistan had in September 2016 rejected the factbook’s claim about remittances of $4.9 billion from Pakistan to India.
The factbook, published by the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development that is backed by the World Bank, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, had used a model that mistakenly included all people who moved from India to Pakistan during Partition as migrants and came up with an estimate of $4.9 billion as their “remittances”.
The State Bank of Pakistan had said in an official statement the study was “clearly flawed” as the people who moved during Partition in 1947 had become citizens of Pakistan. It also rejected “such estimates as these are contrary to facts and do not make sense”.
However, that didn’t prevent NAB from going ahead with an inquiry on alleged money laundering.
Sharif is also facing three corruption cases in an anti-graft court that were registered following the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case that also resulted in his disqualification as a lawmaker and ouster from the post of prime minister.
Another NAB inquiry is also underway against him for the alleged illegal expansion of a road leading to his estate in Lahore’s Jati Umra neighbourhood.