Former minister accuses the bureau of only targeting Sindh, PPP while investigating cases of corruption
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Sharjeel Inam Memon on Sunday heavily criticised National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for its lack of “across the board” action against those named in corruption cases.
The former information minister in the PPP-led government in Sindh, was released late Saturday night after he was arrested soon after a flight carrying him landed at the Islamabad airport.
The PPP leader was released after the National Accountability Bureau verified the bail papers that his counsel had submitted to the bureau.
“If the law is the same for everyone, why wasn’t Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s name included in the Exit Control List (ECL) in view of the ongoing Panama Papers case against him,” Sharjeel questioned.
The bureau’s action should be across the board without any discrimination, he said. “Was the NAB created only to function in Sindh or against PPP.”
He accused the rulers of barring NAB from carrying out investigation in cases relating to Punjab, saying the bureau had now practically become inactive in the province.
Sharjeel recalled that the Supreme Court had sought a list of mega scams wherein, he claimed, the premier, finance minister Ishaq Dar and federal and Punjab ministers were named. “However, names of none of these persons were included in the ECL.
“NAB chairman, if he has the courage, should put the premier’s name in the ECL,” he said. “Instead, the chairman refused to open a case of money laundering against the premier in the top court.”
“I have complete faith in Pakistan’s courts and will face cases [of corruption], if any, against myself,” Sharjeel said. “I have returned to the country only to face the case against myself.”
The PPP minister called his arrest a kidnapping and a result of [political] victimisation. “I was arrested prior to issuance of any notice or initiation of a case, while my name was included in the ECL despite the fact that I wasn’t in the country.”
“Those who arrested me did not introduce themselves and were plain-clothed,” Sharjeel said while referring to his arrest which was termed disgraceful by the members of his party.
Memon, who is facing a multibillion-rupee corruption case in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), was arrested by the bureau’s officials from the runway after his flight from Dubai landed at the airport.
Four provincial ministers of Sindh Mukesh chawla, Imdad Pitafi, Fayyaz Butt and Taimor Talpur were accompanying Memon when he was taken into custody.
Memon had fled the country in 2015 to Dubai after the anti-corruption watchdog launched a crackdown against corrupt political figures and bureaucrats as part of the Karachi operation.
Later, a corruption reference was filed by NAB and subsequently the federal government put his name on the Exit Control List. He challenged the case and was directed to return to the country and defend himself. During his self-exile he lived in Dubai and London.
On Feb 21, the Sindh High Court issued intimation notices to NAB’s special prosecutor and the deputy attorney general on a miscellaneous application moved by Memon for extension of a protective bail in corruption cases.
The former minister had submitted a bail application in the Islamabad High Court on March 15, assuring that he would appear in the court on March 20.