Tuesday, September 29, 2020

I am not king, says NAB chief Javed Iqbal

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National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal Tuesday said those who see only partial accountability are blindfolded as the anti-graft body never filed a case or reference against any innocent person.

The NAB chief made the claims while addressing a ceremony in Islamabad. He said that the anti-corruption watchdog believes in impartial and transparent accountability, and tries to honor the self-esteem of all. The bureau never minded criticism against it, he added.

“I am not a king, being the NAB chairman. It is the law of nature that you reap what you sow. I started the process of meeting litigants on the last Thursday of every month,” he noted.

“I appreciate NAB Rawalpindi, whose director-general, Irfan Mangi, displayed wonderful performance. The credit of this success goes to all, from the naib qasid to the chairman. Money is being refunded to the affectees of Muzarba scandal.”

NAB is accused of facilitating corrupt politicians by filing legally weak references against them and help them get away with the accountability process. Some leaders of the ruling party are also of the view that NAB recently set the stage for Maryam Nawaz in Lahore to let her restart her political program.

“We see the NAB has never filed any strong reference against any politically influential person in Pakistan,” said a lawmaker while speaking about the NAB’s role in political engineering.

In a recent public talk, Chairman NAB has said that NAB’s overall conviction rate is 68.8% and the bureau has recovered Rs 363 billion of looted money from corrupt individuals in the past two years.

He also said that in 2019, 53,643 complaints were received, of which 42,760 complaints were brought to the conclusion, while in 2018, out of 48,591 complaints 41,414 were dealt with.

Read More: NAB collected new evidence against PPP’s Khursheed Shah?

In 2019, 1308 complaints were investigated, 1686 inquiries were conducted and 609 investigations were completed, resulting in a total conviction rate of 68.8%. He also said that since the establishment of the agency, more than Rs 466 billion has been recovered and deposited back in the national exchequer by NAB.

Contrary to the claims of Chairman NAB, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called out Pakistan to stop using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as a tool for political witch-hunts, in the light of a recent Supreme Court decision, which termed the anti-graft agency’s conduct as a manifestation of “utter disregard to the law, fair play, equity and propriety”. The opposition parties have already demanded the government to abolish NAB.

The former Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, said on 13th December 2018 that the NAB ordinance was against the Pakistani constitution, Islamic values, and human rights commitments.

“It was drawn up by a dictator and it should end,” he said. The former prime minister made these statements while speaking to journalist Moeed Pirzada on his prime-time show “Live with Moeed Pirzada” on GNN.

Read More: NAB files a reference against Farzana Raja, Chairperson BISP

Experts believe that the government should not abolish NAB, rather it needs to be thoroughly reformed in order to make it effective and in line with the basic values as prescribed in the Constitution of Pakistan.

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