LAHORE  -     National Accountability Bureau Chairman Javed Iqbal on Monday exempted three women of the Sharif family from appearance before a joint investigation team probing ‘assets beyond means’ of Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif.

On Saturday, NAB Lahore issued summons to Shehbaz’s wife Nusrat Shehbaz and daughters Rabia Imran and Javaria Ali in connection with an ongoing probe into assets beyond means.

The move comes after strong criticism from the opposition parties that called NAB notices ‘politically-motivated’. The opposition warned the government ‘not to drag family members in political vendetta’.

An official told The Nation that the NAB chairman visited Lahore bureau where he was briefed about cases involving the Sharif family.

The NAB chairman will personally supervise the cases against Sharifs, the official said, adding that the anti-corruption watchdog sent questionnaires to the wife and two daughters of Shehbaz and sought written replies in two weeks.

Cancelling summons yesterday, the NAB chief issued directives to mail questionnaires to the women of the Sharif family, according to a press release.

“These steps (ordered by the chairman) indicate that NAB fully believes in respect, honour, and dignity of women and  sanctity of house,” the statement said.

“NAB is strictly following the policy of accountability for all and it has no affiliation with any political party,” the chairman said.

He continued:  “NAB is an independent institution that takes steps in the light of the constitution without any external pressure.

“All accused persons are equal in the eyes of NAB. However, all mega corruption cases will be taken to logical end on the basis of merit and only merit and as soon as possible.”

According to sources, the questionnaires were delivered late on Monday as per the directions of the chairman.

NAB chief to address bureaucracy today

The NAB chairman will address the civil bureaucracy in Lahore on Tuesday. According to sources, he will discuss the anti-corruption policy. His address will also help win the trust of bureaucracy.

The NAB chief will address civil officers at a time when the government complains that the bureaucracy was hindering official work due to fear of NAB.

Hamza appears in NAB

Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz Sharif appeared before NAB  joint investigation team on Monday. The PML-N leader was summoned in connection with a probe into ‘illegal’ construction of a drain to facilitate Ramazan Sugar Mills.

According to sources, Hamza was grilled by NAB investigators for more than two hours. He will also appear before Lahore NAB again on Tuesday to respond to queries related to a case of assets beyond means.  Last week, the Lahore High Court granted pre-arrest bail to Hamza and barred the Lahore NAB from arresting him.