Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog chief has directed the bureau to complete the 16 inquiries pending against ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, a media report said today. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry took the decision during an executive board meeting on July 31, in the same meeting where it was decided to file four references against Sharif family and others, in line with the Supreme Court’s judgement in Panama Papers case. Dawn reported that 14 inquiries against Sharif and two against Shahbaz were initiated in 2000 and 2001 after former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf took power.
However, following the deal which resulted in the Sharifs being exiled to Jeddah, the cases were put on the back-burner. The cases were reopened on April 12, 2006, and have been pending since.
The inquiries against Sharif relate to illegal appointments in Federal Investigation Agency, irregularities in allotment of Lahore Development Authority plots and construction of Raiwind road. Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz faces inquiries regarding alleged illegal allotment of plots in Nawan Kot and on Raiwind Road.
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According to NAB record, in at least three of these cases, the beneficiaries have either voluntarily returned some money or paid the difference to compensate for losses to the state exchequer. On Monday, NAB had decided to file references against Sharif, his children and son-in-law, as well as the former finance minister Ishaq Dar. “The meeting was held in compliance of honourable Supreme Court’s judgement dated July 28, 2017, regarding the Panama case. It was decided to file four references in the accountability courts of Islamabad/Rawalpindi in the stipulated time period of six weeks from the date of judgement,” said an official press release issued by the NAB headquarters. Disqualifying Sharif as a member of parliament, the apex court had ordered NAB to file six references against Sharif family and others in the Panama Papers case judgement last Friday.