Courts have begun returning corruption references involving sums less than Rs500 million to the anti-graft watchdog under the recently amended accountability laws.
After NAB’s recent amendments, corruption cases like Ramzan Sugar Mills effectively stand closed, at least temporarily.
On Saturday, according to local media reports, a federal government source revealed that almost all of these references were made against individuals associated with the current coalition government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The NAB chairman has recently received several references from accountability courts, including the one against PM Shehbaz and his son Hamza Shehbaz (Ramzan Sugar Mills), former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani (USF), and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (rental power projects), citing the amended legislation and instructing him to present the case to a court with the appropriate jurisdiction.
According to a federal government source mentioned in media reports, it is unlikely that Raja Riaz, the hand-picked opposition leader in the National Assembly and the new head of the NAB, will refer these corruption cases to other forums like the anti-corruption establishment.
Former NAB Punjab director Farooq Hameed told local media that it is better for the government to shut down NAB instead of bringing such legislation.
Former NAB Punjab prosecutor general Chaudhry Khaliquz Zaman stated that just because references to cases of corruption that involved less than Rs 500 million were given over to the NAB did not mean that “crime is not committed.”
NAB spokesperson Nadeem Khan while talking about this said, “All such cases will be decided as per law.”
The PML-N and PPP, who are members of the ruling coalition, asserted that all such references were made on political grounds.