ISLAMABAD - The PML-N on Thursday expressed concerns over the decision of National Accountability Bureau to open a corruption reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif relating to the alleged illegal construction of the Raiwind Road in 2000.

“The NAB is opening 17-18 years old cases after failing to find any concrete evidence in corruption, money laundering, kickbacks, loan defaulters and tax evasion against Nawaz Sharif,” said Federal Minister for Privatisation Daniyal Aziz in a press conference. He clarified that it was a case of misappropriation and not of corruption or embezzlement.

The NAB on last Wednesday approved a fresh corruption reference against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The case is related to the alleged illegal construction of the Raiwind Road in 2000.

Aziz said that Raiwind road was not constructed for the sole use of Nawaz Sharif, as thousands of people are using that road. “How can a Prime Minister travel on a dirt road,” he said. “Everyone knows why NAB needs to open a 17-year-old case, which is only a case of misappropriation,” he remarked. 

On the other hand, he said, the NAB had given a clean chit to former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf while closing the inquiry against him in Mandra-Chakwal road project. Similarly, NAB had also closed a case against PTI leader Firdous Ashiq Awan, he said without giving further details. He said it seemed the Sharif family is a target because an old case is being reopened against it.

Aziz said that NAB had failed to find any evidence against Sharif family despite visiting London thrice. The NAB had filed an interim reference in the accountability court, as they had no evidence. The Supreme Court of Pakistan had disqualified Nawaz Sharif on an Aqama, as nothing found in the Panama papers case, which had not included Nawaz Sharif’s name.   

The minister further said that Chairman PTI Imran Khan had admitted that he was the owner of Niazi Services but he enjoyed exemption from the court. On the other hand, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified on the basis of an Aqama.