LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday gave the green signal to a new investigation into certain unidentified cases against high-profile individuals, including PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and his brother, party supremo Nawaz Sharif.
The anti-graft watchdog's decision was made during a meeting of its executive board, attended by the NAB deputy chairperson, prosecutor general, director-general operations, and other senior officials.
"All inquiries and investigations have been ordered on the basis of accusations raised and are in no way final or binding," a notice issued Tuesday read. "[The] NAB will strive to obtain the stance of all those involved, as per the law, after which it will decide whether or not to proceed with the inquiry," it added.
The meeting approved an investigation against Nawaz but made no mention of the nature of the probe.
It also approved inquiries against former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif, former senator Sartaj Aziz, former deputy inspector-general (DIG) of Punjab traffic police Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, member of the Punjab Assembly Meher Hamid Rasheed, former members of the Punjab Assembly Ateeq-ur-Rehman and Sheikh Ijaz Ahmed, Faisalabad Heaven Villas developer Meher Abdul Rauf, and the defaulting PhD scholars of the University of Punjab.
Moreover, it approved separate investigations against Shehbaz, former secretary to Punjab chief minister Javed Mahmood, former Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director-general Ahad Khan Cheema, and others.
It also accorded approval for a probe into illegal activities by Earth Resource Private Limited (ERPL) chief executive and others accused of taking undue advantage of their position.
In addition, inquiries against the management, officers, and members of the environment management company Faisalabad Industrial Estate and Development Management Company (FIEDMC), the Punjab Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (PIEDMC), Lahore Transport Company, Punjab Municipal Development Fund Company, and the Gujranwala West Management Company were ordered shut due to a lack of evidence, as per law.
NAB Chairperson Justice (r) Javed Iqbal said the anti-corruption body was making utmost efforts to eradicate the country of illegal activities and corruption.
"[The] NAB's foremost priority is to see to the conclusion of mega corruption cases," the press release quoted him as saying.
According to the statement, the anti-graft watchdog has deposited Rs466 billion into the national exchequer recovered directly or indirectly while probing unlawful elements, "which is a record achievement".
In December 2018, Nawaz, the former prime minister, was handed seven years in jail by an accountability court in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case.
He is currently in London, where he travelled to in November 2019 after obtaining a four-week bail for medical treatment. The incumbent government, however, did not allow an extension in his stay.
Meanwhile, Shehbaz faces multiple cases pertaining to money laundering, corruption, assets beyond known sources of income, and misuse of authorities.
The PML-N president had joined his brother in London but returned to Pakistan in March and has since been regularly summoned by the NAB.
After testing positive for the novel coronavirus back in June, Shehbaz sought an exemption from NAB hearings. He recovered earlier this month.