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NAB halts probe against Nawaz citing ‘immunity’

NAB halts probe against  Nawaz citing ‘immunity’

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has halted criminal investigations against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on constitutional grounds, citing the premier enjoys constitutional immunity against civil and criminal proceedings, a source told Daily Times.
NAB Chairman Chaudhry Qamar Zaman has already admitted in his performance report recently submitted to the apex court that no progress in cases pending against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could be made.
A source told Daily Times that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself conveyed to the NAB chief through his legal counsel that the watchdog can’t proceed against him until he is in office because of the immunity constitution has provided to him. In the light of the prime minister’s views, NAB chairman has reportedly directed the investigation officers to halt all investigations against Nawaz Sharif and his brother Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Both Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif are accused in several corruption cases, including Rs 11 billion Raiwind Estate development scandal, illegal recruitment in FIA, and accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income, etc. These cases were filed against them in Pervez Musharraf era but the watchdog has miserably failed to finalise the investigation so far.
According to Article 148 of the constitution, any sort of criminal or civil proceeding against an incumbent prime minister could not be commenced on whatsoever reasons and grounds.
Supreme Court Bar Association President Ali Zafar said that it is true that a sitting prime minister enjoys constitutional immunity from trial or conviction, but added that there was no bar on initiating an investigation against a sitting prime minister. “A sitting prime minister cannot be tried or convicted until he is in office, but an investigation can surely be launched against him,” he said.
More than 179 influential people, including the incumbent rulers, have been accused of plundering billion of rupees from the national kitty but the NAB has failed to recover even a single penny from them despite lapse of several years. The Supreme Court is likely to take up the performance report of NAB shortly.
Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and PM’s spokesman Musadaq Malik refused to give their version on the matter while NAB spokesman couldn’t be reached for comments.

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