NAB asks Interior Ministry to place Shahbaz Sharif’s name on ECL

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday penned a letter to Interior Ministry asking to place Pakistan Muslim League (N)’s President and leader of Opposition, Shahbaz Sharif’s name on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Talking to Media Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed informed that NAB has requested to place Former CM’s name on ECL.

The minister further informed that both the interior and law ministries decide upon whom to place on ECL.

Further, he said that a joint meeting of law and interior ministries would be called tomorrow (Wednesday) to decide on the matter.

Following the meeting, the decision will be put before the cabinet which will, in turn, take a final decision.

The interior minister added that he was not aware of the legal standings of the matter as earlier; the Lahore High Court has permitted the opposition leader to fly abroad for treatment.

Before the request made to Interior Ministry, NAB decided to approach Supreme Court to challenge the decision of Lahore High Court (LHC) regarding the bail of PML N’s president.

The prosecution team of the anti-corruption watchdog has also begun preparation to file a plea against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President in the apex court

NAB has said that all the decisions were unanimously taken without any pressure and unaccompanied by any other party.

 

It should be noted that on May 7, the LHC had released Shahbaz Sharif on bail in a case about assets beyond means. Later, the court also allowed him to go abroad for eight weeks on medical grounds.

However, Shahbaz Sharif was offloaded on Saturday at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Airport from a Doha-bound flight by the immigration officials as his name was on the provincial identification list (PNIL).

The PML-N president was told he could not leave the country until the system was updated.

The federal government had also announced to file a petition against the permission granted to him to leave for abroad.

Background

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on June 11, 2019, arrested Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz from the premises of Lahore High Court (LHC) in connection with money laundering and holding assets beyond means.

On February 11, 2020, LHC rejected Hamza Shahbaz's bail plea in illegal assets and money laundering cases.

The anti-corruption watchdog filed a money laundering reference against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz, Salman Shabaz and other family members in the accountability court on August 17, 2020.

On August 20, 2020, an accountability court of Lahore approved the money laundering reference for a hearing against Shahbaz Sharif and his family.

On September 28, 2020, Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif was taken into custody after Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected his bail plea in connection with a money laundering case.

Shabaz Sharif was previously arrested on October 05, 2018, in connection with Ramzan Sugar Mills and Ashiana Housing Scheme cases.

On November 11, 2020, Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz Sharif were indicted in a money-laundering reference by the accountability court.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on February 24, 2021, ordered to release of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hamza Shahbaz from jail. The verdict was announced by a two-member bench headed by Justice Sarfraz Dogar. Court-ordered opposition leader in the provincial assembly to submit two indemnity bonds worth one million each.

On March 26, 2021, Shehbaz Sharif moved the bail petition through his counsel Amjad Pervaiz in which it was stated he is in jail for months and it will take time to conclude the trial in the case.

“All records are with the anti-corruption watchdog and no recovery was due to be made in the case. Shehbaz Sharif is unable to fulfil his constitutional responsibilities as opposition leader in the national assembly due to being jailed. He is continuously attending the hearing, hence the court is requested to issue his release on bail,” the petition added.

About the reference

NAB has accused the Sharif family of accumulating assets worth Rs. 7,328 million, in the last 30 years without justifying the means of income.

The accountability bureau has nominated 20 people in the reference including Shahbaz Sharif’s wife Nusrat, his sons Hamza and Suleman, and daughters Rabia Imran and Javeria Ali. Suleman Shahbaz and his sister Rabia Imran have been declared proclaimed offenders in the case already.

NAB has accused the former chief minister of committing corruption by involving his family members, front men, employees, close fellows and moneychangers. The anti-graft watchdog further alleged that the PML-N President created an organized system of money-laundering formulated fake sources of income to justify the assets acquired beyond known sources of income.

As per NAB, the corruption falls under the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 and money laundering as outlined in the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010.

The other nominated accused in the case are Nisar Ahmad, Ali Muhammad Khan, Muhammad Shoaib Qamar, Qasim Qayyum, Syed Muhammad Tahir Naqvi, Masroor Anwer, Muhammad Usman, Rashid Karamat, Fazal Dad Abbasi and Haroon Yousafzai.

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