LAHORE    -   NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal declared in unequivocal terms on Thursday that housing societies which had looted the poor people and pensioners would not be spared.

Addressing traders and businessmen at the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, he said there were societies that had sold thousands of forms of plots although they had not an inch of land. Through this modus operandi, he said, these societies had deprived the pensioners and poor people of their hard-earned money. These people were neither given plots nor returned their money.

He pledged that the looters would be chased to any part of the world.

He said this while addressing the complaints that the NAB should confine itself to mega corruption cases.

A former judge of the Supreme Court, the NAB chairman tried to allay fears of the businessmen and traders and said now all cases of tax evasion, income tax and sales tax would be referred to the FBR. However, he made it clear that there was a lot of difference between tax evasion and money laundering and the NAB would not spare those involved in money laundering which is a serious crime.

A large number of money laundering cases, he said, had been referred to the NAB by the Supreme Court.

The NAB had not taken up any case of tax evasion since October 2017 and would stick to the same policy in future, he clarified.

He dismissed as allegation that the NAB was victimizing anyone in the name of accountability. He said those who remained in power for some 35 years were facing accountability while the present rulers had a very short stay. He said there were people who were paupers in the past but owned huge plazas now – as a result of corrupt practices.

The ‘weather’ has changed and those against whom nobody could even think of taking any action were behind bars at present. He said nobody was above the law and everybody would be held accountable for his misdoings.

About suggestions that he should follow the Saudi model to recover looted money, the NAB chairman said nobody should forget that there was a lot of difference between systems of the two countries. While KSA was a monarchy, in Pakistan the NAB has to produce any accused before court within 24 hours of his arrest.

It may be recalled that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman had arrested large number of princes and others who were accused of having wealth through illegal means. He had detained them at a Riyadh hotel and released only when they paid $100 billion.

Justice Javed Iqbal explained the steps the NAB had taken for the convenience of traders and business community.