PAC summons heads of SBP, anti-graft organisations over Panama Papers
ISLAMABAD: Heads of the four state organisations responsible for checking money laundering — the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) — will have to inform parliamentarians on Sept 8 why they have not taken any effective action against close relatives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other people mentioned in the Panama Papers.
Syed Khurshid Shah, the leader of opposition in the National Assembly and chairman of its Public Accounts Committee, has convened a meeting of PAC on Sept 8, to which the chiefs of the four organisations have been summoned to explain what steps they have taken in the matter on their own.
When contacted on Sunday, Mr Shah said the four organisations responsible for eliminating corruption in the country had apparently done nothing in case of the Sharif family and others involved in “establishing offshore companies through money laundering”.
“So, the PAC has invited the heads of these organisations to hear their points of view,” he said.
“Had the organisations taken the measures expected of them, there would have been no need for the PAC to summon them.”
Mr Shah’s party (PPP) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) have been calling on the organisations to take action in the matter.
“NAB is laying hands on petty accused but is protecting the rulers who are involved in mega-corruption cases,” he said.
“It will be quite interesting to see what reasons they come up with over their failure to take action in the controversy,” he said.
The government has been accused of resorting to delaying tactics vis-a-vis the opposition parties’ demands on the controversy. However, according to some analysts, the PAC move to invite their heads to the meeting is the first attempt to make them accountable for their apparent inaction on the issue.
Waqar Gilani, a spokesman for the PAC chairman, confirmed that letters about the Sept 8 meeting had already been sent to the chiefs of NAB, FIA, FBR and SBP.
PTI spokesman Naeemul Haq claimed the PAC meeting would prove to be the beginning of government’s downfall.
“Our party’s leaders Dr Arif Alvi and Shafqat Mehmood will raise our stance on the Panama Papers issue forcefully at the meeting,” he said.
Several attempts were made to contact NAB’s spokesman for his comments on the issue, but he was not available.