LAHORE -  Former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his children failed to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for third time on Tuesday to join the investigation into the references being framed against them on the Supreme Court order over alleged money-laundering in purchase of Avenfield House London and for setting up business concern in Saudi Arabia and the Hill Metal company.

The NAB had issued third time notice to Nawaz Sharif, his sons Hussain Nawaz, Hassan Nawaz, Maryam Nawaz and her spouse Capt(r) Muhammad Safdar for appearing before the six-member NAB team headed by the director general, at the Lahore Secretariat on Tuesday (yesterday). The NAB team had also called for the appearance of Federal Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar for the probe into the allegations that his current resources did not match with his known sources of income. On the basis of the JIT report, the NAB wanted to associate Dar with the inquiry to know how his assets grew from 7-91 times within a short span of time. Dar also did not turn up before the NAB.

The Sharifs and Dar entered representation through the counsel in writing giving grounds and questioning NAB probe and its jurisdiction. Both had presented the common point that they had moved review petitions against the July 28 decision of the Supreme Court. Therefore, they demanded that the proceedings on the references should be stalled till decision on their pleas. They said they had also challenged the JIT probe in their review petitions from various angels. The Sharifs said that the NAB references are framed following a specific procedure which had not been done in the instance case. They said before a reference is prepared, it is determined through inquiry whether or not it merits constitution on the basis of evidence. Here the decision to prepare reference was already taken as such any investigation or probe had become meaningless and redundant about the reference. They further said that their fundamental rights had been infringed by directly taking up framing of the reference as their objections have to be entertained before taking decision on their preparation.

They said a reference could only be framed with the approval of the chairman and this practice had not been followed in the instant case. The Sharifs also took the plea that the executive board of the NAB many years ago carried out scrutiny of their assets and declared them all legitimate. As such it would be great injustice to them if they were called against for the probe of their assets when they had also been declared for the purpose of income tax collection.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has taken a dozen of grounds supported by documentary evidence of about 700 pages. He contended that the NAB had already looked into his entire past life and how he earned money and it had closed down the probe against him ultimately on July 15, 2016 when no evidence could be found out against him. Dar further said before the Supreme Court his right to defence was not fully given and this aspect has also been raised in the review plea.

At the Lahore Directorate of the NAB, the special team which reached here from Rawalpindi, waited for the Sharifs and Ishaq Dar till the official time. But only Amjad Pervez advocate appeared on their behalf with the applications.

According to a private TV channel report, the NAB has in writing reported to the Monitoring Judge of the Supreme Court about the issuance of notice and the response.